One company is reminding the Mid-Ohio Valley it has what it takes to attract - and keep - the kinds of employers who help rebuild economies.
Kraton Performance Polymers is not alone in its desire to invest in the local area, but its Innovation Center is a very recent example of the amount of money and effort companies are willing to devote here because they are confident in the people, the infrastructure and the economic environment.
Of course, the $40 million center will add jobs as well, with the possibility for more in the future, as officials have described the Belpre complex as Kraton's "flagship manufacturing facility." The presence of such a flagship has a ripple effect to untold numbers of small businesses and families in our community.
President and CEO Kevin Fogarty told those who attended the Innovation Center's ribbon-cutting "We want you to know that we take that relationship (with the community) very seriously, and we treasure it."
Kraton is also spending more than $50 million at the Belpre site to convert the plant's boiler system from coal to natural gas - another significant investment.
"We finish one project, we celebrate, and we go on to the next one," Fogarty said.
Imagine that. In a way, it is a shame such optimism and faith in our communities seems out of the ordinary here. But if municipal governments, local agencies, school systems and other officials continue to put in the kind of work that inspires such sentiment among corporate officers, it should be a sign of some very good things to come.