Belmont County Department of Development Open for Business

A message on the door of the Belmont County Department of Development office on Main Street in downtown St. Clairsville tells visitors the office is only open by appointment. A second, meanwhile, states, “If we’re not here, it’s because we’re out working for you.”

The signs have caused some passers-by to wonder if the office is still in operation now that the 125-acre Fox Commerce Park is filled with tenants. Rest assured, the office is still in business, and seeking more land to develop, according to director Sue Douglass.

The office’s role is to be the primary contact for businesses seeking to come to Belmont County, as well as the facilitator that makes their move into the county a success. Often the office seeks out loans and grant money for companies interested in the county.

“I am out so much … business doesn’t come to you,” she said.

Despite its name, the Belmont County Department of Development isn’t a Belmont County agency. It is instead an arm of the private, non-profit Community Improvement Corporation of Belmont County. It is the Belmont County Port Authority that functions as the county’s development agency.

“We’re the bridge between the private and public sectors,” she said. “We can speak to businesses confidentially, and help them to work out their plans. … We do a lot of discreet work. By the time it is ready to go public, they go with it from there.”