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Steady Flow

Projects stream to the Ohio.
New plant activity along the Ohio River



total of 230 new plant and expansion projects occurred between July 2004 and August 2005 in the counties abutting the length of the Ohio River, nearly equivalent to the 241 projects that the Conway Data New Plant Database tracked over the same span one year earlier.
   Those projects, their more than US$2 billion in investment and nearly 15,000 jobs are as much a vote for the vitality and labor pool of river cities and counties as they are a reflection of the topography those cities occupy.
   While Allegheny Co., home to Pittsburgh, saw some 29 new plant and expansion projects between July 2004 and August 2005, the other Ohio River county in Pennsylvania — Beaver Co. — saw six of its own, including a $13-million investment from glass product maker Anchor Hocking in Monaca and a $5-million, 80-job expansion by NVR Building Products in Darlington.
   Monaca is also seeing a $2-million investment by zinc product manufacturer Horsehead Corp., as well as a $30-million, 17-job expansion from Nova Chemicals. But that original job-creation estimate has been outdriven already. Nova spokesperson Stephanie Franken notes that the company is also investing in another Ohio River project in Belpre, Ohio.
   The two projects are part of a plan to spend $60 million in 2005 to modify existing assets in order to produce more performance styrenic polymers. "Much of that $60 million is being spent in Monaca and Belpre," she says. "We have hired 40 at Beaver Valley [Monaca] and anticipate that there may be a need for additional hiring."
   Pittsburgh proper will be home to a $14-million, 597,000-sq.-ft. (55,461-sq.-m.) headquarters and furniture distribution center from Roomful Express, located on a 24-acre (10-hectare) site at Chartiers Industrial Park in the city's west end.
   The company had outgrown its 270,000-sq.-ft. (25,083-sq.-m.) complex in nearby Lawrenceville, and its search extended into neighboring states Ohio and West Virginia. But the state in late 2004 put together a $2-million incentive package that includes a loan of $1.25 million from the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority.
   The company, a division of R.H. Kuhn Co., operates 12 stores in the Pittsburgh area. It is expected to add 21 jobs to its payroll of 105 over the next three years.

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