Martins Ferry and Belmont County officials were out in full force to welcome National Lime & Stone Co. when the business held its official ribbon-cutting to celebrate its expansion into Martins Ferry.
The site is about 10 acres, leased from the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railroad.
Mayor Paul Riethmiller welcomed the newest business and all in attendance.
"Today is a great day for our city, our county, and the entire Ohio Valley," he said, citing the planning and cooperation involved.
He added that the city has made strides in marketing all it has to offer future businesses who are considering locating in Martins Ferry.
"Our city has been blessed to be located on the banks of the great Ohio River," he said. "Rail lines and our highways are still vital components to the economic development of our city, county, and state."
He added that this was only the first of several upcoming announcements related to businesses locating in the city and investing millions locally.
"Thank you for believing in our city," he said.
Timothy DiBerardino, vice president of marketing and distribution, spoke about the site and operation. The century-old company operates in Ohio and western Pennsylvania. He thanked the city, the railroad and county port authority for their cooperation.
"This site is a significant long-term investment in the community," he said, adding that the firm targeted this market due to the shortage of quality, local limestone.
He said the operation begins when the limestone is mined, processed and crushed at Carey Quarry, which employs about 30 people.
The stone is loaded into 60-car unit trains. The Wheeling and Lake Erie Railroad transports trains to the Martins Ferry facility. It is unloaded at the site for use in various projects such as contractors, asphalt and concrete production, Ohio Department of Transportation projects, commercial and residential projects, the Utica Shale pads and roads and the general public.
DiBerardino noted afterward that they have been in operation in the site for about a month. The company will hire several employees to manage the site and load and unload the stone.
"This is a multimillion-dollar investment, and it's a long-term significant investment in the community," he said. "Ultimately this new rail yard will bring additional tax revenue to the city."
Others present at the ribbon-cutting included Jason Wilson, director of Gov. John Kasich's office of Appalachia; state Sen. Lou Gentile, D-Steubenville; state Rep. Jack Cera, D-Bellaire; Greg L. DiDonato, executive director of the Ohio Mid Eastern Governments Association; Belmont County Port Authority Director Larry Merry; and county Auditor Andrew Sutak.