WILMINGTON — Development and optimism were the themes for the Clinton County Port Authority at their first meeting of the new year.
Port Authority Chair Walt Rowsey spoke at Thursday’s meeting about the upcoming Economic Development Program, expansions, and business relations.
“The opportunities are always there, depending upon who you talk to,” Rowsey told the News Journal. “We don’t have a lot of space. We have to build and that’s a new challenge and a new initiative. We knew that was coming if we got successful.”
Rowsey said, in regards to air cargo, they’ve spoken with several companies about possibly coming to the Wilmington Air Park.
“None of them are the size of Amazon or anything like that but, incrementally, we need to continue to have the air park used for air cargo,” he said.
Currently much of the port authority’s focus is on its Economic Development Program.
“The fact is that Wilmington is a vibrant community. We need to increase the housing around our area to facilitate expansion,” he said. “So, working on the Economic Development Program with all of our partners, the county, the city, I think that’s the most exciting part.”
To him, it shows that Clinton County is interested in attracting new businesses to the area and takes care of pre-established businesses that need to expand.
“Job creation is one thing; job retention is just as important,” he said, adding attracting new business is to make sure those already established businesses “don’t pull out stakes” and leave.
“I think we’re optimistic that we’re going have some success with this program, and it will benefit this community,” he said.
The port authority announced this week that Jennifer Ekey was hired to serve as the Economic Development Director. Both Rowsey and Port Authority Executive Director Dan Evers spoke highly of Ekey at the meeting.
“Jennifer is a consummate professional, well regarded in public and private sectors of economic development,” said Evers. “It is not hyperbole to say that I could not think of a better choice … we’re very fortunate to have her.”
Rowsey believes these developments are a good start to the decade, as with the upcoming celebration of the port authority’s 10th anniversary of owning the air park.
“The next decade is as exciting and as fruitful as the prior one,” said Rowsey.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574