PORTSfuture Project signifies efforts of DOE to significantly engage the community about the future of the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant"
Through a multifaceted community outreach program at Portsmouth, DOE worked diligently with stakeholders to understand the community’s end-state vision for the Portsmouth site. With the assistance of the PORTSFuture Project and interaction with the Portsmouth Site Specific Advisory Board, elected officials, economic development professionals and others, the community has expressed a consensus vision to reindustrialize appropriate portions of the Portsmouth Site property.
Community leaders have discussed a “phased approach” to reindustrialization, meaning that development efforts would ideally be made in tandem with the Decontamination and Decommissioning (D&D) project. As more of the industrial area within Perimeter Road is remediated, more land may become available for development as the project continues in the years ahead.
Economic development professionals in the area are working to evaluate the site’s assets and determine future industries that may be suitable at the Portsmouth Site. These efforts will also provide DOE with necessary information about the community’s specific end-state needs, which will be considered while making decisions regarding the D&D project.
The D&D project helps prepare the site for reuse by removing outdated and unnecessary buildings, disposing of waste, recycling clean materials, remediating the environment, and right-sizing site utilities and infrastructure with the future and local community in mind.
In 2010, DOE provided a grant to Ohio University to engage the community on the future of PORTS. A full report was published on this effort, entitled the PORTSfuture Project.
This study confirmed that jobs and economic issues are the biggest concerns to people in the region, as evidenced by the following findings:
- 83% listed jobs/economy/business development as the most important issue to the community.
- 75% indicated that the Portsmuoth site is very important to the future of the community for jobs and the economy.
- 95% of votes were cast for some type of job-creating scenario for future use of the DOE property
The Southern Ohio Diversification Initiative (SODI) was designated by DOE to be the Community Reuse Organization for the Portsmouth site in 1995. After a two-year planning period, SODI was incorporated in 1997 as a non-profit community improvement corporation under the Ohio revised code. SODI serves Pike, Ross, Scioto and Jackson counties with a clear mission through economic diversification, development, asset transition and business development.
Through an agreement with SODI, DOE is able to transfer eligible property to SODI that can be reused, sold or recycled for the benefit of economic development in the four-county region surrounding the plant (Pike, Scioto, Ross, and Jackson).
Called the Asset Transition Agreement, it has generated more than 23 million pounds of material for recycle or reuse and more than $4 million in proceeds that support local economic development.
SODI has issued grants to the four surrounding counties for development purposes:
- $150,000 to a Scioto County industrial park upgrade project
- $150,000 to Pike County for a $2.7 million sewer expansion project
- $150,000 to Jackson County for an airport upgrade project
- $150,000 to Ross County for an industrial park upgrade