Appalachian Basin

Canton Industrial Park Begins to See Growth from Shale

One good way to gauge the positive impact shale development is having on Ohio’s economy is observing the growth and investment in its industrial parks.  EID has reported on the incredible gains of the Wellsville Intermodal Park and several Mahoning Valley industrial parks thanks to the development of the Utica Shale. Now, Mills Business Park in Canton is beginning to experience some of these same benefits.

Ten years ago, the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce developed the park’s concept with developer Robert DeHoff.  The idea came about after the city realized there wasn’t enough room for new and expanding businesses within the city.  After ten years, the Mills park is certainly beginning to grow.  Currently, the park has contracts with Medline Industries and Old Dominion Freight Line.  Two more companies are expected to make Mills Business Park their home in 2013, joining  GE Oil & Gas.

While it is good sign that companies are moving in, the park hasn’t reached the potential its developers expected.  However, shale is providing hope for the park’s future, a fact noted by Joseph Halter, president of Solmet Technology and chairman of the chamber’s economic development committee when the Mills project was being spearheaded:

You have to look at these things long-term. We all knew this was not going to be something that happened overnight. I don’t think it’s even half occupied at this point. With the coming of the Utica Shale, certainly that has the potential to attract a lot (of businesses).— Joseph Halter (Mills Business Park vision takes shape, 12/23/12)

Enter GE Oil and Gas, a company vested in the interest of Ohio’s oil and natural gas resources. They are expected to use their facility for piping and parts used in the field.  As shale development continues to grow across eastern Ohio, it is very likely Mills will be a hub for oil and gas related industries just as Wellsville Intermodal Park and industrial parks throughout the Mahoning Valley.

For example, Wellsville Intermodal Park in Columbiana County only has a few acres left for development because so many shale-related companies have moved in.  They’ve also been able to make improvements to the park including a 60-ton overhead river crane, bulk cargo handling, and access to railroad and highway.

Castlo Industrial Park in Struthers will have all of their leasable space occupied by spring thanks to shale.  Using a $3.5 million Ohio Job Ready Sites grant, they are preparing 60 acres for future development. The Ohio Commerce Center in Lordstown also received a Job Ready Sites grant to the tune of $2 million for rail upgrades to service the shale industry.

Industrial parks attracting more businesses and in some cases, expanding to create more room, clearly show the potential future economic benefit shale development can bring on Ohio.  Without these vast resources – and the expanding development of these resources – many of these facilities could still be years from reaching the potential developers had in mind.

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