The redevelopment of the former 74-acre A.P. Green property, located on Pyro Road approximately three miles north of Oak Hill, was discussed when the Oak Hill Area Chamber of Commerce met virtually on Monday, Feb. 8. The property is for sale and is being listed by the CBRE Company.

When speaking to the Chamber members, Jackson County Economic Partnership Development (JCEDP) Executive Director Sam Brady discussed his hopes that a new owner will purchase the site and bring new economic opportunities to Jackson County.

“I would like to see that property fall into the hands of a hungry developer,” said Brady.

He hopes the property will be sold or leased to an operator who would bring jobs back to the community. He stated the 135,000-square-foot building is a prime real estate property, as the buildings there are in good shape and the property in general is being maintained.

“That’s probably one of the best economic development sites in the county,” said Brady. “If the property were five miles closer to a four-lane, it would be filled right now.”

Chamber President Kurtis Strickland stated the property’s redevelopment is important to the residents and business. He hopes a positive solution is found, as A.P. Green was one of the largest employers in the region before closing at the end of March 2018.

The property was originally known as the Pyro Plant, which was built by the Du Brui Company and incorporated on Sept. 15, 1903. In 1953, the company name was changed to Pyro Refractories Company and in 1956 the plant was sold to the A.P. Green Company of Mexico, Missouri.

The more recent history of the facility was somewhat tumultuous, with a nearly year-long work stoppage having come to an end in March 2016, following a contract dispute between its most recent owner/operator, Harbison Walker International (HWI), and the United Steelworkers Union (USW) Local 2324-5.

Then, citing monolithics as a growth area, HWI announced in February 2017 that it was investing $30 million to build a technologically advanced monolithics plant in South Point, Ohio. Subsequently, the local plant site closed.

During the Feb. 8 discussion, Brady also mentioned another project that will help retain jobs -- the Nock and Son factory located west of the village. JCEDP was involved in a project that brought high-speed broadband service to the plant to assist in its operations.

“The company expressed a need for fiber-optic broadband,” said Brady.

Working with Taylor Stepp at Ohio Southeast Economic Development, Nock and Son was able to obtain funding through the JobsOhio Inclusion Grant program, which also helped the company procure some machinery.

In other news from the meeting, Strickland updated Chamber members on some upcoming events, including the Chamber’s Amish Business Showcase, which will be held Saturday, June 5 at Aetna Park, and the Festival of Flags, which is scheduled for May 27-31. The festival was canceled last year, but is set to come back strong with the nationally known act, Presley and Taylor, headlining the entertainment.

The Oak Hill Area Chamber of Commerce will be meeting again virtually on March 8 at noon. For more information, check out the group’s Facebook page.