2015 was a good year for Belmont County, but 2016 will be even better, according to commissioners. With several major investments to jobs, infrastructure, and education, all of the numbers are looking up– except unemployment.
“It’s the first time I’ve actually heard people are moving back to this area. That’s a good think,” said commissioner Matt Coffland. “I think that’s the goal of anyone that’s elected to any position is to, one, keep the family together, keep people from having to move out.”
Coffland adds that there were a number of accomplishments including phase one of the mall connector, nearly 100 miles of paving, as well as approval for road projects at State Route 331 and the bottom of Interstate 470, but nothing was as big as the announcement of the $5.7 billion ethane cracker plant.
The purchase agreement of the project along the river near Shadyside is scheduled to be signed as early as July 2016. Commission president Mark Thomas says Ohio’s big cities– Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati, are taking notice of what’s happening in eastern Ohio.
“The three Cs can scream all they want, but in the end, the teamwork that is happening with all the people working on this project, when it comes to fruition, and we think it will. It will be the largest single investment of anything in the state of Ohio,” Thomas added.
And with this investment comes jobs.
“These are top quality paying jobs. It’ll be long-team. I mean, you don’t make a $5-billion investment and drag up in a couple of years,” said Coffland.
The Belmont County commissioners also want to emphasize, that’s what’s good for Belmont County, is good for the entire Ohio Valley.