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Greene restarts port authority

Goal is to attract more development.

Greene County reactivated its port authority this month, which could help attract more development to the area, according to county officials.

The county port authority — a quasi-government agency that has the power to loan money, purchase real estate and personal property, issue bonds and apply for state and federal funding — will be overseen by a seven-member board appointed by the county commissioners.

The Greene County Port Authority is one of about 59 port authorities around the state, according to information published by the Ohio Council of Port Authorities. Port authorities financed about $3.1 billion in projects in Ohio over the last decade, according to the port authority council.

“A port authority is a wonderful economic development tool,” said Greene County Interim Administrator Brandon Huddleson. “It opens up all kinds of creative financing for business. It will also benefit our community partners.”

The county created the port authority in 2006, but the board became inactive after 2011 when the members terms expired, according to Pete Williams of the county’s economic development department.

County commissioners recently reappointed former members and appointed new members to reactivate the board. The board members will serve four-year terms that started on June 1.

“Right when the housing crisis and recession hit, that would’ve been ideally when it (the port authority) would have been hitting its stride,” Williams said. “There just wasn’t a lot of development deals. So because of that, there weren’t a lot of things going on that the port could take part in or be the lead on a project.”

Because of the economy, few were building, Williams added.

“It wasn’t that the port wasn’t helping people build,” Williams said. “Nobody was building, and there wasn’t a lot of money being lent either.”

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