Cracker Outlook Still Promising

Some area residents have kept our fingers crossed for so long that we may require medical help to untwine them. Yes, we’re talking about the cracker plant.

Another promising development was reported this week. It was that funding to develop the cracker plant site at Dilles Bottom has been committed. PTT Global Chemical America of Thailand, and Daelim Industrial Co. of South Korea will put up $65 million for the work. JobsOhio, the state’s private development agency, has awarded a $30 million grant.

Still, more than four years after it first was proposed, the cracker plant is not a certainty.

It is tempting to conclude the amount of money poured into the project dictates it be completed. In addition to the $95 million for site work, PTT officials said in 2015 that they were spending $100 million for engineering. The following year, JobsOhio revealed it was providing $17 million to demolish and remove the power plant that stood for years on the site, and to clean up adjacent land.

But PTT-Daelim officials refuse to say the final stamp of approval has been given to the project.

If it comes, it will be the most important economic development activity in decades for our area. The cracker plant itself will be big. Production facilities using its output as feedstock should be even bigger job creators.

If …

No one can say when PTT-Daelim will formalize the plan. In fact, it may not be a “done deal.” Officials of the combined enterprise no doubt have good reasons for delay.

But — though we emphasize we have no inside knowledge — the commitment JobsOhio has made should be reassuring. It is difficult to conceive that agency’s officials would commit $44 million to a project without having at least some assurances.

For now, however, the cracker remains a dream we hope fervently will become reality.

You knew this was coming: Keep your fingers crossed. Both hands, please.

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