Groups pull together to achieve prosperity and prepare for the cracker plant

Community

At a Project BEST gathering at Belmont Hills Country Club, community leaders shared information.

As we move closer to a decision about the cracker plant, we can’t stand still.

“We’ll need more retail,” said Larry Merry, Belmont County Port Authority director, “We’re going to have more service industries. We’re going to have more manufacturing.”

Merry says there will be “growing pains.”

He says we’ll spend a bit more for a hotel room, and we’ll spend a little longer in traffic.

“We ask that people be understanding,” said Merry. “Understand the construction that’s going on and try to keep those people safe that are doing that.”

The St. Clairsville City Council president says landlords will need to be prepared for an influx of people.

“So they’re going to have to be educated on what they need to be doing to keep their apartments and their rental homes and stuff up to snuff,” said Tim Porter.

Project BEST Networking Luncheons help labor collaborate with school officials, elected officials and economic development.

“At the end of the day, the cracker will be built by construction workers,” saud Ginny Favede, executive director of the Ohio Valley Construction Employers Council. “And those are the men and women of the labor groups here. When we talk about 6,000 to 10,000 jobs–construction jobs–those are the men and women of the Ohio Valley.”

And Larry Merry had some straight talk on a sensitive subject.

“And to be employed in any type of longer term industry job, you going to have to pass a drug test first,” Merry stated. “

He says people often say there are no jobs here, but he insists they are.

“And if you’re not going to stay clean, then yes, you’re probably going to have trouble finding a sustainable job, a life-supporting job,” he added.

They all say they want to ensure the Ohio Valley gets to enjoy the prosperity that’s just being talked about.

So they’re working.

“Boots on the ground,” Favede affirmed. “Making sure that we’re all sharing information so that we benefit from it.”

Larry Merry says the cracker plant will present a multi-generational opportunity for good jobs for families.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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