Gov. DeWine sits down with WSAZ to discuss plans for southeast Ohio

Gov. Mike DeWine discusses plans for southeast Ohio with WSAZ
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 7:33 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSAZ) - On Thursday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine sat down with WSAZ to discuss his plans for southeast Ohio as he begins his second term in office. He is excited for many cities and towns as they approach phase two of the Appalachian Community Grant Program. In 2022, the program invested $500 million in Ohio’s 32 Appalachian counties.

Funding in phase one helped local municipalities with the planning of large projects.

“What I’ve seen that’s really exciting is that by putting this money out and the possibility of this money coming in, communities have really started pulling together to talk. People have gotten excited about it and asked, ‘How do we want to spend this money?’ and I think it is really going to be transformative,” DeWine said.

Phase two is where plans will become a reality in 2023. DeWine said some projects have already started.

“It has really benefited our Appalachian counties for water and sewer. That is something that many of these communities simply did not have the money it needed to keep up with the times and do what they should be doing. So, I know that it has been a very popular program and we’re really seeing some results in southeast Ohio particularly,” said DeWine.

Governor DeWine also discussed the Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program. It began in 2007 and offers state tax credits of up to 25% for private redevelopment projects of historic buildings.

“My intention is to expand that this year and to propose to the General Assembly to make more of that available,” DeWine said. “These are many things that we can do to make our communities better.”

The governor said he is also focused on making sure high-speed internet is accessible in rural regions and that the state government will work with the private sector to alleviate that burden.

“There are a lot of people that want to live in southeast Ohio but they’ve got to make a living and what they do is they have to be online. That’s how they do it. So just making sure that they can have that job but live in Portsmouth or live in Ironton,” said DeWine.

The governor visited Ironton in October of 2022. He met with Ironton High School students and watched a football game that night between Ironton and Coal Grove. DeWine says enjoyed meeting with everyone that day and loved the atmosphere.

“I’ve always wanted to visit that historic stadium. It has a great, great history and when you go there and look at it, you say ‘wow!’ You’ve got the stands that are covered and it looks like something out of a movie,” DeWine said.

On visits like this to southeast Ohio, the governor says there is a common theme that he is often asked about.

“I think a common theme, always, is jobs. I think that as a parent and now a grandparent, what do you want for your kids? Well, you want them to find something that they’re really excited about doing and you hope that it’s in your home area,” DeWine said. “It’s really been a big focus of ours and it’s a work in progress. Things are not perfect, but we are seeing growth in Ohio. I really think that if you look at southeast Ohio, there is a great, great potential there, as well.”