Business View Civil and Municipal | Volume 2, Issue 9

6 CIVIL AND MUNICIPAL VOLUME 2, ISSUE 9 T industrial sites and to the local business climate and market opportunities that makes Monroe County a desirable location for business investment.” Qualifying projects in Monroe County included American Heavy Plates, a rapidly growing steel rolling mill and service center in the Hannibal Industrial Park with nearly 100 employees; Mountaineer NGL, a key component to build- out of the petrochemical industry cluster in the Appalachian Basin; and Ohio-West Virginia Excavating, which moved in after the Monroe County Port Authority purchased and completed all of the due diligence on this former industrial site so that it was shovel ready. Interviews with officials in the most successful rural counties of 2020 revealed a striking consensus, according to the article authored by Gary Daughters in Site Selectors Magazine. “Without fail, they stressed the need for increased public and private investment in infrastructure, education, workforce development, water and sewer systems, shovel- ready sites, amenities and housing,” it read. “We were thrilled to learn that Holmes County was recognized by Site Selection magazine as one of the top-performing rural communities in the country,” said Mark Leininger, Executive Director of Holmes County Economic Development Council. “This recognition is a testament to the hard work of the entrepreneurial people in our community. Our business owners are committed to this area and they continue to push themselves to find new and innovative ways to thrive in competitive markets and during challenging times.” Leininger said he appreciates JobsOhio’s recognition of the importance of supporting small communities like those in Holmes County. “What our community lacks in terms of economic development amenities, such as ample public infrastructure and access to four-lane highways, it more than makes up for with a dedicated and hardworking workforce and an abundance of entrepreneurial people,” he said. “We value our partnership with JobsOhio and OhioSE, and look forward to continuing to work together to support the growth of our local manufacturing sector businesses.” Qualifying projects in Holmes County included a $1.5 million investment by Keim Lumber to modernize its inventory management system and train employees and a $1.7 million investment by Walnut Creek Foods to construct a 17,000 square foot building addition at its manufacturing and distribution site. “Rural economies have the potential to create meaningful economic opportunities in the future, yet rural development needs to go beyond the notion of improving agricultural productivity; it