SOPA gets $10,000 AEP grant

Photo Courtesy of Portsmouth Daily Times. Pictured left to right: Tim Wells, Manager - Economic & Business Development, AEP Ohio; Jennifer Jacobs, Executive Director, Jackson County Economic Development Board; Stan Jennings, Superintendent, Scioto County Career and Technical Center (SCCTC); Jason Kester, Executive Director, Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA); John Kennard, SOPA; Craig Gilliland, Projects Committee Chairman, SOPA; and Josh Shoemaker, Director of Human Resources, SCCTC.

Photo Courtesy of Portsmouth Daily Times. Pictured left to right: Tim Wells, Manager – Economic & Business Development, AEP Ohio; Jennifer Jacobs, Executive Director, Jackson County Economic Development Board; Stan Jennings, Superintendent, Scioto County Career and Technical Center (SCCTC); Jason Kester, Executive Director, Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA); John Kennard, SOPA; Craig Gilliland, Projects Committee Chairman, SOPA; and Josh Shoemaker, Director of Human Resources, SCCTC.

The Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA) has been awarded a $10,000 grant from American Electric Power (AEP) to fund the creation of a Scioto County marketing and incentives plan.

“Throughout 2014, SOPA participated in AEP’s Community Economic Development Academy (CEDA) program. SOPA and Scioto County were evaluated by an outside consulting firm, which resulted in a number of recommendations including hiring additional economic development staff, creating an economic development marketing and incentives plan, relocating to a new office location, creating a new website, and completing additional analysis of various sites in Scioto County,” said Jason Kester, SOPA executive director in a released statement.

SOPA announced they are actively seeking applications for an Asset and Property Manager to work along with Kester. He said he hopes to have someone in the position by the first of the year.

Kester said since the evaluation, SOPA created an action plan which was submitted and evaluated by AEP and the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth (APEG).

“SOPA board members and staff of the Scioto County Career and Technical Center attended APEG’s Economic Development 101 event where SOPA was awarded a $10,000 grant from AEP to create a county marketing and incentives plan,” Kester said. “This is another significant investment from AEP and APEG in the future of Scioto County.”

Kester said this AEP grant compliments other grants SOPA has received throughout 2014 — which, so far this year, total over $180,000. The grants will be used for engineering, marketing, a brownfield inventory and a number of other items.

SOPA recently received a $100,000 grant from APEG to assist in infrastructure development in the Scioto-Lawrence Corridor. In April, it was announced that SOPA formed a partnership with Lawrence County for Economic Development. According to Kester, the partnership would bring the two agencies together with the goal of bringing economic development to the corridor between Wheelersburg and Hanging Rock.

Kester also announced that SOPA has scheduled several town hall meetings.

“SOPA will be hosting a Town Hall Meeting this week and next. It’ll be an open forum for any questions about the economic development in Scioto County,” Kester said.

The Town Hall Meetings will be Wednesday, Dec. 10 from 6-8 p.m. in the New Boston Village Council Meeting Room, at Vern Riffe Community Center, 3980 Rhodes Ave., New Boston, and on Wednesday, Dec. 17 from 6-8 p.m. at the Plumbers and Pipefitters Hall, Local 577, 1236 Gallia St., in Portsmouth.

From Portsmouth Daily Times  |  by Wayne Allen

Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT