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This page offers blog posts, news articles and events surrounding Athens County economic and community development efforts.

 

Rural Action CEO outlines economic development program connected to Baileys Trail

January 8 2020 By Conor Morris Debbie Phillips, CEO of Rural Action, delivered a status update to the Athens County Commissioners Tuesday on a grant-funded economic development project connected to the Baileys Trail System in the Wayne National Forest. Rural Action is the lead partner on a $1.235 million Appalachian Regional Commission POWER grant that […]

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OhioHealth personnel shift in wake of higher minimum wage

January 21, 2020 By Heather Willard The world of business is never easy. Unfortunately for some OhioHealth O’Bleness employees, it’s been edging away from the humdrum day-to-day grind toward a uncertain future. However, for others, a pay raise is on the horizon. Several departments of employees are being impacted by the hospital’s new “One patient, […]

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DeWine’s leadership role with key Appalachian group welcome news around Ohio

January 16, 2020 By: Tyler Buchanan Just how important is the Appalachian Regional Commission? There’s an old line that Andy Kuhn believes sums it all up: “A toilet doesn’t flush in rural America or rural Appalachia without ARC funds.” That’s how critical the Commission is to infrastructure advancement, the executive director of the Southeastern Ohio […]

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Athens Marijuana Dispensary Facing License Revocation

January 15, 2020 By: Heather Willard Athens residents hoping for the long-expected medical marijuana dispensary to open on West Union Street may have to wait much longer as the company’s dispensary licenses are now on hold by state regulators. Harvest Grows LLC was notified this month by the Ohio Department of Commerce that plans were […]

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Ohio roads, bridges to see improvements with new gas tax money

January 12, 2020 By: Tyler Buchanan Tim Schumm is already looking forward to spring. County engineers like him also serve as amateur meteorologists. Forget baseball. Spring means it’s paving season, and the Henry County official knows the recent influx of gas tax revenue will help to get an extra 11 miles of road paved this […]

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Baileys update at Commissioner meeting creates more finance questions

January 10, 2020 By: Heather Willard Progress on the Baileys Trail System appears slow once more, following an update Rural Action CEO Debbie Phillips presented to the Athens County Commissioners on Tuesday. Rural Action has been one of the largest partners in the project, and is the leader for the almost $1.3 million Appalachian Regional […]

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New year, New minimum wage

January 7, 2019 By: John Stran Many changes that will happen in 2020 are unknown, but some Ohioan’s can expect a pay increase in the new year. The Ohio minimum wage increased on Wednesday, Jan. 1, from $8.55 per hour to $8.70 for employees who work for a business that brings in more than $319,000 […]

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Commissioners continue to weigh Baileys Trail funding

December 26, 2019 By: Heather Willard Another lengthy discussion involving the Athens County Commissioners has resulted in no vote and no decision on whether the county will financially support the Baileys Trail Project. Last week, the Commissioners went to Chauncey for a site visit on the trail, but high water did not allow for a […]

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Sewer project broadband complications ironed out

December 27, 2019 By: Heather Willard The Athens County Commissioners ran into some stumbling blocks on the Route 50W sanitary sewer project when discussions of sharing the trench with a communications company were stalled due to uncertainty of federal regulations. The project will provide sanitary sewers to the housing subdivisions along Route 50W and to […]

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Underhill named new Chamber president

December 13, 2019 From Staff Reports The Athens Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has named Dani Underhill as its new President. She replaces Michelle Oestrike who has been leading the organization for nearly four years. Underhill will start in the position Monday, Jan. 6, 2020 which will provide an overlap with Ms. Oestrike’s […]

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The southeastern Ohio broadband desert persists

December 13, 2019 By: Heather Willard In rural areas around the nation, residents struggle to acquire broadband services in their homes. A new study has found that upwards of 90 percent of Southeastern Ohio homes in low-occupancy areas do not have access to broadband services. The lack of internet has led to these rural areas […]

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O’Bleness grows with new building

December 18, 2019 Ground has been broken for a new 30,000 square foot, two-story office building to be added on the OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital campus. The project budget is over $11 million, and the new building will be located between the hospital, which resides at 55 Hospital Drive, and the OhioHealth Urgent Care building at […]

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Site prep for new EMS station underway

December 17,  2019 By: Heather Willard Athens County Emergency Medical Services has been housed for a while now on West Union Street in a building the county does not own. Officials have called for more space, citing maintenance issues with the building as well as lack of certain facilities. Site prep work is finally underway […]

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Local food pantry to get windfall of donations thanks to Burrow’s Heisman speech

January 16, 2019 By: Conor Burrow In Joe Burrow’s home county, roughly 30 percent of all children in 2017 lived in households that were below the poverty level. More than one in four children are still considered “food insecure,” meaning there’s little certainty about when their next meal will come. In Burrow’s hometown of The […]

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Athens City approves Baileys Trail funding

By Heather Willard, December 11, 2019 Monday night, Athens City Council approved the use of $1.8 million over the course of 20 years to help fund the Baileys Trail System, putting a bow on a long conversation that began decades ago. In the early 1990s, a conversation started about how the U.S. Forest Service and […]

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TechGROWTH Ohio awarded $5.05 million grant

December 4, 2019 by OU COMPASS TechGROWTH Ohio, Ohio University’s Ohio Third Frontier entrepreneurial services provider, has been awarded $5.05 million by the state for venture development services. The grant will be matched by OU and private organizations, allowing TechGROWTH to continue and expand services through 2022. “Innovation is in Ohio’s DNA, it’s who we […]

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A spirited opening

By Heather Willard Messenger Staff Journalist, November 19, 2019   In a plain building located just off of Shafer Street, owners of the West Side Ciderhouse and Distillery have been slowly growing new roots in the Athens West Side community. That’s because Kelly Sauber and his partner, Deanna Schwartz, have moved liquor and cider production […]

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Economic Development Council earns award for familiarization tour

November 5, 2019 The Athens County Economic Development Council won a Silver Award for its 2019 Familiarization Tour, a project in the International Economic Development Council’s (IEDC) Innovation in Economic Development Week category. The honor was presented at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, Oct. 15 during the IEDC Annual Conference, which was held Oct. 13-16 […]

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City council tables vote on funding for Baileys Trail System

November 5, 2019 Article by Emily Krebs City Council tabled a vote Monday for legislation that would financially support construction of the Baileys Trail System through a tax on rented rooms such as hotels, motels and bed-and-breakfasts. The city was asked by Quantified Ventures — a Washington D.C.-based investment firm that’s managing the trail system’s […]

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Local company to expand into industrial park near The Plains

Click here to read the original story in the Athens News. A growing manufacturer of patented truck beds and trailers that automatically load and unload shipping containers on Tuesday announced that it’s expanding into the Bill Theisen Industrial Park in near The Plains in Athens County, according to a news release from JobsOhio. The announcement […]

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County signs with company to lease Atco building

By Heather Willard Messenger Staff Journalist.  For a brief moment on Tuesday, it seemed like the Athens County Commissioners would have a tough decision to make regarding the future of the former Atco building. The commissioners received two bids for the building, but one of them was later withdrawn on Tuesday. The county is going […]

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QuickLoadz Expanding Production in Athens County

NELSONVILLE, Ohio, Oct. 28, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Quick Loadz Container System (QuickLoadz), a rapidly growing manufacturer of patented truck beds and trailers that automatically load and unload shipping containers, announced today its expansion into the Bill Theisen Industrial Park in Athens County. The announcement was made in London as QuickLoadz celebrated its graduation from the London Stock Exchange Group’s ELITE Program, […]

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Baileys Trail gets funding boost

The Bailey’s Trail System will eventually feature 88 miles of mountain bike trail in the Wayne National Forest. File photo By TYLER BUCHANAN Messenger editor. Note: This story appears in the Friday, Oct. 11 newspaper on Page A1. Another major grant financing the Baileys Trail System project in Wayne National Forest was announced this week. […]

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Affordable housing plan approved in Athens

By Heather Willard Messenger Staff Journalist. Note: This story appears in the Friday, Oct. 11 newspaper on Page A3. More changes intended on improving Athens’ city housing code were approved this week by City Council. Council members hope the plan will pave the way for more affordable housing in town. It is mainly directed at […]

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Special Improvement District proposed for Athens

By Heather Willard Messenger Staff Journalist. Note: This story appears in the Friday, Oct. 11 newspaper on Page A1. Property owners in a portion of uptown Athens may have an opportunity to join a special improvement district to provide funding for enhancement of the area. Special Improvement Districts are private organizations established when over 60 […]

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