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Tomblin gives $200,000 toward TS&T demolition


CHESTER - West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said he looks forward to the day when the old Taylor, Smith & Taylor property in Chester is generating jobs and revenue for the community.


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CHESTER - West Virginia GovEarl Ray Tomblin said he looks forward to the day when the old Taylor, Smith & Taylor property in Chester is generating jobs and revenue for the community Tomblin was in Chester Monday to present $200,000 in state funding for the old pottery's demolition, the last piece of the funding puzzle for the roughly $970,000 projectLast week, Hancock County commissioners also anted up a half-million dollars from their economic development fund "It's a new day for that piece of property," Tomblin said"Cleaned up, we can have new jobs here, we can continue to make good use of the land." Article Photos VISITS TS&T SITE — Hancock County Commissioner Dan Greathouse, left, and GovEarl Ray Tomblin looked over paperwork prior to a press conference Monday celebrating the opening of an access road that will allow crews to rid the old Taylor, Smith & Taylor pottery property in Chester of hazardous materials and debris, a prelude to its reuseTomblin committed $200,000 in state funding for the remediation and redevelopment project, with Hancock County commissioners supplying another $500,000 from their economic development fundTotal project cost is estimated at nearly $1 millionThe Business Development Corpof the Northern Panhandle purchased the site in 2011 so that, with state and federal help, it could be remediated and become a revenue-generating property- Linda Harris if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } $(function() { $('.contentArticlesCutline p').textOverflow(); }); function listGetAt(c,p,d) { if(arguments.length= 1 && p parseInt(photoContainerHeight) ) { photoContainerHeight = listGetAt('250x188',2,'x'); 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photoArray[1] = "572881_1.jpg"; syndDirArray[1] = ""; /* switch large photo and cutline */ function selectArticlePhoto(chosen) { var curCutline = cutlineArray[[chosen]]; var curCutlineClean = cutlineCleanArray[[chosen]]; var curPhoto = photoArray[[chosen]]; var curSyndDir = syndDirArray[[chosen]]; document.getElementById('articlePhotoLargeImage').src = "/photos/news/md/" + curPhoto; document.getElementById('articlePhotoLargeImage').onclick = function (){popupPic('news',curSyndDir,curPhoto,curCutlineClean)}; for (z=1;zThe property has been idled for the past 22 years, and the crumbling structure posed serious health and safety concerns in the communityIt was acquired by the Business Development Corpof the Northern Panhandle in July for $125,000, a move BDC Executive Director Pat Ford said Monday they made only after the county commissioners had approached his board about the possibility of partnering together to create jobs and revenue at the site"Bear in mind, we've always been challenged in Brooke and Hancock counties to have flat land, proximate to transportation corridors with good infrastructure to develop," he said"What's particularly exciting about this project is that we had to overcome the challenges of asbestos on site, the magnitude of the built structures on the siteIn this case, it took a number of people sharing the same vision to see this site cleared for economic development." Ford said they've already heard from one prospective employer, "but there have been other people expressing interest." He said no decisions will be made, though, until the remediation is done and the site is cleared for reuse"We could not have selected a better site back in July when we purchased this property," he said"Knowing what we do today, that it's only 15 minutes from the planned (ethane) cracker in Pennsylvania - it's an opportunity to attract an employer there, one that's most likely going to be related to shale development"We're confident that once the site is cleaned and people realize what a prime piece of real estate it is, it will open the door for other prospects." Commissioner Jeff Davis, meanwhile, called the demo project a "win-win for all" Hancock County, pointing out after the ceremony that they've been socking away their share of gaming proceeds for years for just this kind of opportunity to create jobs and revenue where there have been none for decadesHe said they have about $10 million banked, part of which they plan to use for a new county 911 center "and we plan to keep some back." "But if another (economic development) opportunity develops tomorrow, we'd look at that," Davis saidCommissioner Dan Greathouse said it was "time for a new beginningWhat comes out of here is going to be great." "Growth has been slow," Commissioner Mike Swartzmiller said, "but what a great day for Chester, what a great day for the county." Chester Mayor Ken Thorn pointed out that the community has waited a long time to see the building and its dangers eradicated"It's not that we didn't try to do something, it's just that we didn't have a lot of people listening to us," he addedTomblin, meanwhile, said he "still feels very confident" the Mountain State will snag an ethane cracker operation, though he's not saying how he can be so sureAlthough he admits to being disappointed that Shell Oil chose a 300-acre property in nearby Monaca, Pa., rather than a 250-acre parcel next to Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort, for its multi-billion dollar cracker, Tomblin said it's important to keep in mind "the long-term jobs" that would be created locally even if the cracker is built in Monaca, just about a half-hour drive from Weirton"It presents an opportunity," he said"There are so many facets of support when you have a cracker with downstream industries, so many industries spring up to support it." From the start, state officials have insisted that Marcellus and Utica shale operations in West Virginia, Western Pennsylvania and Southeastern Ohio could support more than one cracker, a plant that would convert the ethane from natural gas into ethylene, which is used in petrochemicals that are widely used in the plastics industryThey'd hoped to land the Shell project, but that company announced in March its site-of-choice would be the Horsehead zinc property in Monaca"Everything from Charleston north is under consideration right now" for a second Ohio Valley cracker operation, he said

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