Economic development seminar held in Columbiana County
COLUMBIANA COUNTY, Ohio — A seminar was held Wednesday in Columbiana County to discuss the future of economic development across the Ohio Valley.
The Ohio River Corridor played host to a development conference to bring together representatives from Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania to discuss the future of jobs in southeast Ohio and the northern panhandle of West Virginia.
“There’s been a considerable amount activity as far as oil and gas is concerned and considerable amount of activity as far as downstream is concerned, and today we’re really bringing the Tri-State together,” said Bryce Custer, SIOR, CCIM, Petrochemical and Energy Services.
The event brought together elected officials, economic development officials, and land developers from Hancock, Brooke, and Marshall counties in West Virginia and Jefferson and Belmont counties in Ohio.
“I think what this means for the people in the Ohio Valley is the hope,” Custer said. “You know we’ve had steel mills shut down, power plants shut down, and here is a unique opportunity.”
Attendees learned from private development experts on how the Ohio River corridor is becoming the Midwest’s next big growth area with the production of oil and gas, and the development of petrochemical plants.
“Plastics will be huge in our industry,” said Penny Traina, executive director/CEO at Columbiana County Port Authority. “And hopefully the corridor along the Ohio River will become one the biggest hubs for jobs in the Appalachian basin.”
Pat Ford, executive director of the Business Development Corporation, says collaboration will be the key moving forward.
“This is probably the first time, I think, in multiple generations that we’ve seen people work together on both sides of the river,” Ford said.
“We’re talking about an end game, we’re talking about using collective resources to make things happen, and it is very refreshing and very exciting.”
Organizers say the conference was all about connecting the dots for economic development in the Ohio Valley for today, tomorrow, and the future.