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Dec 9, 2022 | Craig Howell 

Article Adapted from:

At least one member of the Hancock County Commission is asking for the county to consider taking the lead in its own economic development efforts.

During Thursday’s county commission meeting, Commissioner Eron Chek, participating by telephone, recommended a future discussion on what processes the county uses to select an economic development agency.

“I think it leaves us some opportunities,” she said.

One of the issues Chek focused on in her comments was what she feels is a lack of information when a potential business decides not to locate in the county.

“We don’t have an understanding of the perspective of the companies that don’t come,” she said.

Pointing to her own experience in business while living in California, Chek said she feels the commission is the “perfect group” to handle its own economic development efforts, adding she doesn’t feel that “from top to bottom” economic development is complicated.

“I don’t think we can find out what our true problems are without getting our hands a little dirty,” she said.

According to Chek’s LinkedIn profile, while in California she was a territory sales representative for Marchon Eyewear from June 2006 to August 2007, and a territory account executive for Silhouette International from August 2007 to May 2017. Also listed is a year-long period as owner and operator of a European skin and body clinic.

Following the meeting, Commission President Paul Cowey noted the county currently designates the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle as the county’s economic development agency, saying the organization has been working for the last several years to obtain grants and other funding sources to acquire and clean brownfields in the county as part of its economic development efforts. Those efforts have resulted in the clearing of the former Taylor, Smith and Taylor property in Chester, the location of Bidell Gas Compression in Weirton, as well as working alongside the Frontier Group of Companies to assist in the preparation of approximately 1,100 acres of former steel-manufacturing land in Weirton, and various ongoing projects in Brooke County.

“They have the ear of the EDA and others at the state,” Cowey said.

Cowey, representing the county, sits as a member of the BDC’s executive committee.

No decisions were made Thursday, with commissioners agreeing to discuss the issue at a later meeting.

In other business, the commission approved the hiring of Theresa Cain as deputy clerk in the County Clerk’s Office, effective Dec. 1; and approved the paying of 13 unused vacation days for Karan Valenti from her time in the County Clerk’s Office. Valenti will become the new county clerk beginning Jan. 1.