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Mid-Ohio Valley officials optimistic about Nucor benefits

PARKERSBURG — Although ground zero for a planned $2.7 billion steel mill is in Mason County, Mid-Ohio Valley officials expect to feel the impact of the project.

“We believe there’s going to be tremendous opportunities for not only Mason County but also the surrounding counties,” said Mark Whitley, executive director for the neighboring Jackson County Economic Development Authority and its Roane County counterpart.

In fact, Whitley said his office fielded a call Wednesday from a supplier interested in locating near the new facility.

Wood County Economic Development Executive Director Lindsey Piersol said she’s been contacted by an interested party as well.

“I look forward to trying to land some of those in Wood County,” she said.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice on Wednesday announced plans by North Carolina-based Nucor Corp. to locate its new sheet steel mill on an industrial property in the Apple Grove area of Mason County. It’s expected to create 1,000 construction jobs and eventually employ up to 800 people once completed in 2024.

Piersol and Whitley are confident some of those workers will live in the counties they represent.

“Ultimately, 800 employees will transcend beyond Mason County,” Whitley said.

“I think you’ll see people from Wood County probably working there and building it,” Piersol said. “I think it’ll be good for the entire state, and counties in this vicinity will definitely see the trickle-down effect.”

Whitley said Jackson County campsites used for work on the recently completed West Virginia section of the TransCanada pipeline could be adapted for construction workers on the Mason County project.

Wood County Commission President Blair Couch said local building material suppliers will benefit as construction work gets underway on the project .

“We’ll have sales down in that area,” he said. “It seems like (it) will be a massive endeavor.

“I hope our local trade unions get work down there.”

Southeastern Ohio Port Authority Executive Director Jesse Roush said the finished product from the Nucor facility is useful in a variety of ventures. Having a supplier that close “could eventually provide a catalyst for future development” in Washington County, he said.

And with Washington County residents like his uncle, who for years has commuted to work in Ravenswood, Roush said he wouldn’t be surprised to see some locals taking jobs with Nucor.

“One thing we know in this region, people are willing to drive further … for a job,” he said.

Staff reporter Brett Dunlap contributed to this story.

Evan Bevins can be reached at ebevins@newsandsentinel.com.

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