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Monroe’s economic development recognized

Photo Provided An aerial photo shows Hannibal Industrial Park in Clarington, where American Heavy Plates is located. The steel mill is one of three projects in Monroe County that helped the county get recognized for its successful economic development efforts in 2020.

WOODSFIELD — Monroe County is among three counties in the state that were recognized for successful economic development efforts in 2020 in a national ranking.

Monroe, Holmes and Pike counties were included in Site Selection Magazine’s top 10 of all U.S. rural counties that experienced economic development growth last year. The ranking was based on three factors — private project investments with a capital investment of $1 million or more, job creation of 20 new hires, or 20,000-square-feet of new buildout by corporate end-users.

Each year, counties work with Ohio Southeast Economic Development and JobsOhio to submit qualifying projects for the “Governor’s Cups,” a ranking based on new and expanded corporate facilities in the nation. According to a release, Ohio was one of five states with 11 or more qualifying rural projects with 19 states reporting no qualifying projects.

“Only 10 rural counties throughout the country registered more than two qualifying investments of $1 million or more, and four of those counties are in Ohio,” said Mike Jacoby, president of Ohio Southeast Economic Development. “Southeastern Ohio continues to be on the rise with Holmes County having five qualifying projects, Pike having four, and Monroe County having three.”

Jason Hamman, economic development representative for Monroe County, said he is happy that the county was included in the ranking.

“To be ranked as one of the top 10 performing rural counties in the nation is truly amazing,” he said. “It’s a testament to the hard work that’s been put in to develop industrial sites and to the local business climate and market opportunities that makes Monroe County a desirable location for business investment.”

Hamman said three projects in the county met the qualifications, including American Heavy Plates, Mountaineer NGL and Ohio-West Virginia Excavating. All three projects met the rapid investment factor, while American Heavy Plates and Ohio-West Virginia Excavation also qualified under job creation.

Monroe County is continuing its economic development efforts with multiple other projects in the works. Hamman said the county received more than $2 million in grant funding to install an access road and perform barge cell repairs to the Powhatan No. 7 project, which is slated to start sometime this year. He said officials are working on finalizing a grant application through the U.S. Economic Development Organization for construction of a wireless broadband tower. Additionally, the Monroe County Port Authority submitted a grant application to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to create a business incubator in the county.

“That project is in cooperation with the Youngstown Business Incubator. In 2015, they were ranked as the No. 1 incubator in the world. They’re nationally and globally recognized for the success that they’ve had, so they are a nice partner,” he added.

Hamman said Monroe County has a lot of projects lined up and officials look forward to continuing the economic success in the area.

Monroe County Commissioners Mick Schumacher said the recognition is impressive. He added that the commissioners are on the forefront of several other projects that will be announced in the near future.

Through the ranking, an award is presented to the state that exhibits the highest number of projects and highest number of projects per capita. This year, Ohio took home the award for most projects per capita with 419 qualifying projects throughout the state.

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