In 2003, the Ohio County Commission announced a deal that would bring a Cabela’s retail store and distribution center to Ohio County. That was the start of the Highlands, one of the biggest economic developments the county has seen in recent years.
In this week’s Throwback Thursday, we take you back to the start of this major project that brought thousands of jobs to the area.
In 2001 the Ohio County Commissioners were looking for something to spark the local economy. That’s when they purchased 471 acres of reclaimed coal mining property near I-70 in Triadelphia. Over the next few years and additional 1,000 acres would be purchased.
Then in 2003 came the announcement that major retail business, along with a distribution would be located on the property, “We thought we had a Sheet’s and a Lowe’s and we thought that we hit a home run and that never materialized. Then we looked at the big picture and turned to Cabela’s and they became very interested,” said Ohio County Commissioner, Tim McCormick.
“Once you land a company like Cabela’s along with the distribution center, it makes it easier to attract tenants who might not otherwise not understand how much confidence they should have in their development,” Ohio County Commissioner, Randy Wharton added.
Once Cabela’s opened in 2004 the Highlands became a premier shopping destination that would feature J. C. Penney, Kohl’s, Wal-Mart and Target. Now the development has over 90 tenants. That includes not only retail but also several restaurants, five hotels, a university, and an insurance company as well as medical facilities. The area provides over 3,000 permanent jobs with over $500,000 of economic activity each year, “It’s been an outstanding development. I don’t think any of us thought we would ever get to this point,” McCormick said.
Future expansion includes a 50 square foot manufacturing site from East Coast Metals.