By JESSE MANCINI
PARKERSBURG - An industrial site at the Parkersburg
Business Park will be marketed with the same zeal which
brought Luigino's to town, local planners said. After four
years of ups and downs, compromises and kowtowing and two
announcements the company was going to build the plant here,
frozen foods giant Luigino's dropped its plans to build a $36
million plant and hire 600 people at the business park.
The Thursday announcement from the state development office
comes several weeks after reports started arising the company
was concerned about C8 contamination.
Luigino's has before axed a deal to build the plant. The
original site was in Hibbing, Minn., however, the company and
a development board got into a disagreement over the length of
time it was taking for Luigino's to renovate a former
Time to get back to work and find another company, Mayor
Jimmy Colombo said Friday.
''What we do is we pick ourselves up, and we act like we're
not carrying a million pounds of weight on our shoulders,'' he
The 40-acre site at the business park has been cleared,
leveled and is ready to go, said James Kinnett, president of
the Wood County Development Authority, the agency involved
four years ago in persuading the company to come to
Parkersburg. It's the best industrial site in West Virginia,
''It's prepared and the most marketable piece of property
in the state,'' he said.
Wood County Commission President Rick Modesitt is
confident. That site and a site in Williamstown, both close to
the interstate, are prime for development, he said.
''The county remains strong,'' he said. ''We think we're in
a good position to attract new business.''
C8 is a non-issue, he said. The site has no contamination
and Parkersburg water is safe and free of the compound,
''I feel safe. I wouldn't be drinking the water if I
didn't,'' Modesitt said. ''It's much to do about nothing.''
C8, also known as ammonium perfluorooctanoate, was used in
a Teflon process at th DuPont Washington Works for more than
50 years. Residents have sued the company over possible health
effects. It has not been determined C8 is a health risk, but
it stays in the body for a long period of time.
''We don't have contaminated water,'' said Clarence Cox,
manager of the Parkersburg Utility Board.
It's unfortunate Luigino's left, but it did open up another
site for development, Greg Smith, chairman of the development
task force, part of the Wood County Economic Roundtable
''It does leave us an excellent location for another
business to come in and take advantage of the location and
employee work force,'' he said.
Other companies have looked at the site in the past four
years, Colombo said. The work to install the new water and
sewer lines has not been for not, he said.
''The larger water line is definitely needed out there
anyway,'' he said.
Luigino's first announced it was building in Parkersburg in
June 1999. Construction never started and at one point the
project was dead. During that time, the state bought the site
for $1.3 million from the development authority. The project
at one point was dead.
The site is titled to Stockmeister Enterprises, the company
which would have built the plant. The agreement has a