By LINDA HARRIS
TORONTO, Ohio - FirstEnergy has sold 40-plus acres on the outskirts of Toronto to a Texas company that will be using it for a shale-related business activity.
The buyer, Houston-based Plains Marketing LP, paid $2.5 million for the property, according to papers filed at the Jefferson County recorder's office.
Company officials could not be reached for comment; however, sources familiar with the transaction say Plains Marketing is planning to transport wet gases from Utica shale wells to the site, where it will be stored and ultimately shipped by barge to refineries on the Gulf Coast.
When contacted, local leaders said they don't have many details yet, but what they do know bodes well for the local economy.
While Progress Alliance didn't broker the deal, outgoing Executive Director Ed Looman said they've been monitoring developments for quite a while, "and if everything goes as planned, it will be a nice project for Jefferson County."
"It holds some great potential for Jefferson County," said Looman, who beginning in January will be regional director for the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth, a division of JobsOhio.
Toronto Mayor John Geddis, meanwhile, said if things pan out as expected it will benefit his community and all of Jefferson County.
He described the site as a "prime property," with barge docking facilities as well as the potential for a rail spur.
"It will definitely be a major development for the area," he said. "They're taking a piece of land that has been vacant since the plant shut down in '86."
The building was demolished a few years ago, he said.
Geddis, meanwhile, said new ownership means jobs and money flowing into the area, adding that "there'll probably be a lot of construction there in the near future. I'm glad they chose that area, that site," he said. "With the loss of (so many) steel jobs, we need a good industrial base. It's a nice way for Jefferson County to end the year."