Perseverance Pays Off in Moundsville

It looks as if one more big push will accomplish something very good that has been in the works for about 14 years in Moundsville. Once that happens it will be a tribute to both the private sector and local officials’ eagerness to work with it.

Fostoria Glass once was a giant in its industry, employing nearly 1,000 people at the height of its success. But like so many American glass companies, Fostoria failed and closed its Moundsville plant in 1986.

That left city residents with a gigantic safety and health hazard in the form of old glass company buildings on about nine acres of ground.

Local leaders saw both necessity – to remove the buildings and reclaim the land – and opportunity at the Fostoria site. The city of Moundsville acquired the site and, in 2000, it and the Moundsville Economic Development Council began planning to convert a liability into an asset.

It was there that Moundsville’s experience differed from how similar situations are handled in some other places.

Local officials never intended to manage reclamation of the site by themselves. They were smart enough to understand this was a job for the private sector. So, Moundsville officials decided government would act as an expediter, not an implementer.

It has taken many years – and many obstacles have been overcome – but the project is close to fruition. As we explained in a story this week, owners of GAB?Enterprises, doing business as Vinmar Partners, say success is on the horizon.

One more building remains to be demolished. Then, a major project will be needed to bring in clean fill dirt to raise the elevation at the site. Once that is accomplished, a relatively large, appealing site will be available for development. Some interest already has been expressed in it.

We in the Ohio Valley are all too familiar with old industrial sites that languished for decades after companies shut down operations. The Fostoria project is an example of how local government and business can partner to redevelop such land. It also is a lesson in how perseverance can pay off – as it certainly will for residents of the Moundsville area.