The very first concern of any company considering a new manufacturing or other facility is finding an adequate site for it. That means enough land and necessary infrastructure.
Benwood officials want to make this area more attractive to new and expanding businesses by improving their community's two industrial parks. Included in their plans are improving road access and providing electricity, water and sewer lines for an unserved section of one of the locations.
One phase of the project is construction of a 1,200-foot road to connect the two parks. Municipal officials hope to forge a partnership with the county commission, the Shelly and Sands paving company and the Regional Economic Development Partnership. All parties are to be encouraged to participate simply because economic growth is in their best interests.
Another phase of the project will involve obtaining some land from the CSX Corp. in order to connect the two parks by road. Growth in the local economy is in CSX's best interests, too, so we hope the firm will work with city officials on the land acquisition.
But the project is a big, potentially expensive one. Obviously, Benwood and Marshall County could use some help with it.
That is where state economic development officials should come into the picture. If funding assistance and/or expertise are needed to complete the project, the state should consider providing it.
There has not been a better time in decades for Benwood to grow by making its industrial parks more attractive to new or expanding businesses. The gas drilling boom already has brought several new businesses to our region, and more are waiting in the wings. Completion of the Benwood industrial complex could bring them here.
Benwood officials deserve to be commended for taking on the industrial park completion project. Again, if state help is needed to make it a success, it should be provided.