U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $5 Million to Support Athens County Port Authority Building Project
The U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $5 million grant to the Athens County Port Authority to build a 60,000 square-foot facility to house biomedical, biotechnology, and advanced manufacturing companies. JobsOhio has also supported the project with a $2.9 million grant for site work and construction. The project is expected to create 150 jobs and generate $5 million in private investment.
“JobsOhio and our partners at OhioSE have made it a top priority to make investments that can attract more jobs and opportunity to Southeast Ohio,” said J.P. Nauseef, JobsOhio president and CEO. “This new facility will strengthen the attractiveness of Athens County to bring innovative companies that can more quickly provide good jobs throughout the region.”
“This is a historic investment in Athens County and will support the retention and attraction of high-wage jobs in growing industry sectors that help diversify our economy” said Athens County Economic Development Council Director Mollie Fitzgerald. “This has been a priority of the Port Authority for a number of years and I’m grateful to those before me who worked diligently to move this project forward.”
Jack Bortle, Chairman of the Athens County Port Authority added, “this is a wonderful opportunity for us to continue our mission of attracting and retaining quality jobs for Athens County. The new building project would not have been possible without the support and encouragement of the Port Authority Board, the Athens County Commissioners, and many other partners in the county’s economic development efforts,”
“Athens has a history of growing companies from technologies developed at Ohio University, and this building will help facilitate additional technology transfer economic development,” said Ohio Southeast Economic Development President Mike Jacoby. “We applaud the Athens County Port Authority, the U.S. EDA, JobsOhio, and all the partners, including OhioSE Team members Tom Poorman and Donna Hrezo, who made this project a reality.”
Regarding the project’s support of existing biotech companies incubating at the Ohio University Innovation Center, Ohio University President Hugh Sherman said, “We are thrilled to see this kind of support for the Port Authority and the companies in the Innovation Center, and we are grateful for the jobs it is expected to generate in our community.”
In the EDA’s grant announcement on Tuesday, support for the project was shared by Secretary of Commerce Gina M Raimondo, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo, Senator Sherrod Brown, and Congressman Mike Carey (OH-15).
The project is slated to break ground by the end of the year.