Groundbreaking for project expected to bring jobs to Jackson, Ohio

Published: Jun. 20, 2019 at 6:09 PM EDT
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A new development aimed at bringing jobs and economic growth to southern Ohio kicked off Thursday.

City and county officials joined state environmental employees for a groundbreaking to celebrate the first step in the development process for the old Meridian Automotive property on state Route 93 in Jackson.

The land was once owned by Meridian Automotive, but they closed their doors in 2007. The company employed more than 400 people and was once the highest paying manufacturing company in the county.

The building was torn down in 2015, but the property was never cleaned up and hydraulic oil contamination has prevented any development.

"Someday, there will be hundreds of jobs here again," Jackson Mayor Randy Heath said.

That hope for more jobs is what brought the remediation and redevelopment process to life. According to Jackson County Economic Development Partnership Executive Director Sam Brady, the project was made possible through a grant given to Jackson County by JobsOhio.

"There is a lot of excitement. This is a day 12 years in the making," Brady said.

The project's goal is to clean the property to prepare for development. Agencies will conduct environmental testing on different spots of the land. If soil comes back contaminated, it will be removed and replaced.

Once that is done, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency will test the land to be sure it is no longer contaminated. After that, the land can be put up for sale.

"We have the absolute hardest working people you could employ, and we have a lot to offer any company," Brady said.

Brady said there are no formal offers on the property, but it is sparking interest from developers. He said the goal is to have the bulk of the project done by Thanksgiving.