Former AEP plant sold for $1.2 million
WATERFORD — The recent sale of the former American Electric Power Muskingum River Plant will hopefully bring jobs back to that side of the county.
The 165-acre site was purchased for $1.2 million Friday by the Southeastern Ohio Port Authority and the Belpre Industrial Parkersburg Railroad.
Jesse Roush, port authority executive director, said the site which previously belonged to Commercial Liability Partners has been fully demolished, remediated and prepped for redevelopment.
It was discussed at the Jan. 7 meeting of the Washington County Board of Commissioners the possibility of them co-signing as a third entity, but that wasn’t needed, Roush said.
“We were able to circle the wagons and we were able to come to terms with the railroad,” he explained. “We purchased the property and the railroad purchased the easement for the rail system.”
The site has a 96-car unit train rail loop. By acquiring the rail system, BIP will be able to have its own shortline operation railroad.
“With this rail system and a lot of (Cathcart Rail Executive Chairman Casey Cathcart’s) relationship with other markets, he’ll be working to find other businesses that need rail service.”
Roush said by purchasing the property, heavy industrial companies will have a site ready with access to rail, water from the Muskingum River, electrical substations and a natural gas supply through Texas Eastern Pipeline.
He said the property stretches from Sparling Road to the river.
“The AEP facility was a premier place of employment and the jobs lost when it was decommissioned were among the best in the region. Our goal is to restore as many of those skilled, high wage jobs as we can,” Roush said. “We are working on a plan to guide future development and anticipate announcing our first project very soon.”
In a press release, Cathcart said they are excited to partner with the port authority on the project.
“Given its size, we see several parcel carve-outs that could provide ample footprint for manufacturing, plastics, or petrochemicals development, and/or a large transloading operation for agriculture, aggregates, fertilizer, lime, liquids, lumber, sand, or wood chips,” he said. “Most of the needed infrastructure already exists on site so it is development-ready.”
The sale of the property was good news, said Beverly Mayor Jim Ullman.
“The village of Beverly has been excited about the sale,” he said. “We’re in need of jobs for our area. This appears to be something that fits the mold. I hope it will help stabilize our village and township.”
Ullman worked at the site from 1978 through 2001 and said at one time, there were 300 employees, not counting contractors. When it closed, there were less than 100 people.
Michele Newbanks can be reached at email@example.com