Columbia Gas breaks ground in New Boston

New Boston continues to rebuild the infrastructure that lay dormant since the closing of Empire Detroit decades ago.

The latest activity was the groundbreaking for the new Scioto County facility for Columbia Gas of Ohio, at 208 Vine Street in New Boston.

NiSource Columbia Gas of Ohio corporate officials joined with community leaders at the site on Wednesday afternoon, shovels in hand.

“This is our 17th project with Columbia Gas,” Steve Pagura the developer with the Brewer Company said. “These are transportation mods. It’s where they dispatch the crews to repair lines and we’re real excited about doing another project with them, bringing these jobs to Portsmouth.”

Pagura said the facility will begin with the maintaining of the current 29 employees and will add more because of the scope of the new facility.

“It’s brand new. You’ve got a more energy efficient building and bigger building than the one they’re coming out of,” Pagura said. “It will make the work flow a lot better.”

Shane Cartmill of Columbia Gas of Ohio told the Daily Times the facility was built with safety in mind.

“The space is ergonomic with the intent of keeping the employees safe and productive,” Cartmill said. “For example, there are details like pull-through parking which helps to reduce backing collisions.”

Don Hadsell of Hadsell Construction will build the facility.

“This means more jobs for local people and it’s a continuation of everything that we’ve done up here in New Boston,” Hadsell said. “We’re about out of property now. We’ve got about another three acres around the corner and next we’re (Hadsell) going to move to the Harmon Street location in Portsmouth and then there should be an announcement coming from the Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA) on the (Ohio) 522 lot. It’s coming here in the next few weeks. With what I hear that some people want to do up there (522 in Wheelersburg), there may be another plant coming up there.”

Hadsell said the project is a continuation of the vision of the late Bob Walton who made it his life’s goal to create a successful industrial complex on those grounds.

“It doesn’t have the 2,000 jobs it used to (when Empire Detroit Steel was located there), but up and down there now, with this, which is 29 more, that makes probably 700 to 800 jobs in here,” Hadsell said. “It’s not what we had but it’s better than if it went into a brownfield. Bob Walton fought and gave his life for this area, so this is just a continuation of his dream and that of Mick Sturgill and (the late New Boston Mayor) Jim Warren.”

President of Village Council Mike Payton welcomed the company to New Boston.

“This is a great opportunity for New Boston,” Payton said. “We have seen it grow from Jim Warren’s days, making a rebound after the mill left and we have come back a long way. It’s a team effort.”

Pagura said the company hopes to be under roof at the new building by June 1, 2016.





Photo 1:  Steve Pagura of Columbia Gas of Ohio addresses company officials and local political leaders at the groundbreaking of the new location of the Scioto County facility for Columbia Gas of Ohio on Vine Street in New Boston Wednesday.

Photo 2:  NiSource Columbia Gas of Ohio officials and local political leaders break ground for the construction of the new Scioto County facility for Columbia Gas of Ohio on Vine Street in New Boston Wednesday.

Photo 3:  Submitted Graphic Artist rendering of the new Scioto County facility for Columbia Gas of Ohio on Vine Street in New Boston.

Photo 4: Update, New Columbia Gas Facility

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.