PDT Staff Writer
Scioto County Commissioner Tom Reiser says he was leaving for Detroit on Thursday as a part of the efforts to bring the proposed New Steel project to fruition. At the center of the local efforts is the Hatch Study to look at the feasibility of building the plant, which would produce a new type of steel the company says is lighter and stronger.
“We’re meeting with representatives from the Hatch organization and New Steel to get an update on exactly where we are,” Reiser said. “I know that part of it is done. I think that this session is probably going to be partly communicating with Hatch as to exactly what else we want done in terms of the marketing studies, the profitability of the company, and things like that.”
Reiser said New Steel is still in need of more investment money.
“That’s how the downtown business leaders got involved in this. After a meeting that we had we told them we were in a situation where, if this thing was going to go, it was probably take anywhere between $1 million and $2 million to get everything in line,” Reiser said. “We’re not trying to raise that kind of money because the Hatch Study is the thing that will tell investors whether it is profitable and feasible or not.”
Reiser said all data that is currently available shows that the project is profitable and feasible.
“It just doesn’t have the blessing of a respected financial organization to back that up,” Reiser said. “And that’s what the Hatch Study is.”
Reiser said there was discussion at Thursday morning’s meeting of area business leaders that there is a need for a business professional to be on board.
“(New Steel CEO) John (Schultes) mentioned probably a year-and-a-half ago a particular management company that he had in mind for that,” Reiser said. “So that’s not a new idea, but it’s something that the downtown business group has been talking about. I think that is something New Steel needs, and they are very willing to do that, but in order to get somebody like that, you’re going to have to offer them something. And without this study there isn’t a whole lot to offer.”
One of the people deeply involved in the project is developer Jeff Albrecht.
“The great news with New Steel is that the governor is involved and sees that maybe there’s the chance that this could work out,” Albrecht said. “What he has done is send Michael Otworth to town to work with us. And he’s working on this, putting a lot of hours in. He has also assigned Kristi Tanner of JobsOhio to our community to try to make New Steel happen, or whatever we can do to create some new jobs and some new opportunities in our town. We’re just real excited about that, that the governor is involved personally in trying to make something happen.”
Albrecht said the Thursday morning group is also working on development projects within the city.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.