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$4.8 million invested in a business park

An aerial view of the site.

CALDWELL — An investment of more than $4.8 million will help create a new industrial park in Noble County.

An announcement was made Tuesday of the Caldwell East of I-77 Business Park, to include grading and site work creating six building pads, access roads, installation of water, sewer, gas, electric and fiber to the pads, along with the construction of a new 10,000 square foot commercial speculative building.

When finished, the park will cover a total of 18.37 acres on Woodsfield Road in Caldwell.

Noble County Commissioner Brad Peoples said during the announcement that “I would just like to take a collective deep breath because in some way, shape or form, we’ve made it.”

He said it’s been since the 1950s that they’ve had an announcement like the one made Tuesday.

“Over the past few years we’ve had the belief that the circumstances of our distressed rural county required collaboration and flexibility by all partners,” he said.

This new county collaborative of local public officials and private business has worked to create a public/private business park project reflective of the realities of the market, he said.

He said they believe they are well suited to compete for and win smaller projects, particularly small manufacturing and small energy sector-related projects if they have ready sites.

“Making the most of the Appalachian topography this plan development occurs on small tiered pads. This is a strategy that has been proven effective in the region and complexes like those in Washington and Belmont counties,” Peoples said.

He said they have turned away projects because they don’t have ready sites.

Peoples added the partners were faced with how to honor tradition without letting it hold them back.

“In our case, every single one of those partners came out of the room with a reason to move forward instead of an excuse not to,” he said. “I could not be more proud of that as a community.”

He said they call that “political climate change” because in the last five or so years there has been a changing of the guard in the elected official positions in Noble County “and I think we are starting to see some of the fruits born from these changes.”

Several speakers participated, including Mike Jacoby, president of OhioSE Economic Development; J.P. Nauseef, president and CEO of JobsOhio; John Carey, director of the Governor’s Office of Appalachia; Ohio Sen. Frank Hoagland (R-Mingo Junction); Ohio Rep. Don Jones (R-Freeport); and Gwynn Stewart, community development, with the Ohio State University Extension in Noble County.

Nauseef said this project is an “incredible example of why Ohio is winning right now.”

Last year, there was an all-time high in the number of projects in Southeast Ohio for JobsOhio with 46. They also had a record number of more than 300 business retention and expansion engagements, which will turn into economic development investments and projects.

JobsOhio invested $91 million last year in OhioSE projects, he said.

“That’s $89 per capita, which is the number one region per capita for the State of Ohio. For JobsOhio regions, OhioSE received the most JobsOhio incentive dollars than any other region in the state,” Nauseef said.

Jones said it was important to change when necessary.

“If we don’t change and if we don’t improve, we won’t grow,” he said.

He explained it was also important to take what money is given to Southeast Ohio, as well as collaborating on projects.

“If we don’t take the money, someone else will,” he said. “If we want to win together, we have to work together.”

Preliminary work has begun on the site, one mile from I-77 on Woodsfield Road in Caldwell.

Michele Newbanks can be reached at

mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

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