Commerce Park Growing through Flex Building Program
Located in the West End of Huntington’s Empowerment Zone, Commerce Park is busy building its second “flex” building. A “flex” building is designed to accommodate from one to multiple tenants with needs as diverse as light manufacturing, office or warehousing needs. Flex Partners the developers of the first “flex” building are now under construction on building number two.
The first “flex” building was occupied by GC Services in 2007. GC Services provides customer service for clients throughout the US and employs over 200 persons at the Commerce Park location. The “flex” space met GC Services needs by offering a completed shell building that was able to be quickly fitted for its interior needs. GC Services was able to expand operations in Huntington by keeping its east end location and opening up employment markets in Ohio and Kentucky as well as West Huntington by expanding operations at Commerce Park.
The success of the “flex” concept has led to the construction of a second “flex” building. The 20,000 s.f. “Flex II” site is under construction at this time. Both projects received partial funding from Zone Loan.
Downtown Huntington TIF District Construction Projects Continue
The Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District has proven a catalyst for continued public improvements in the heart of Downtown Huntington. Two major construction projects are now complete and the third project is set to begin soon. The 9th Street project returned 9th Street to two-way traffic and opened up the former “pedestrian plaza”. Both foot and vehicular traffic now travels 9th Street between Pullman Square (the retail, entertainment and dining lifestyle center) and the specialty shops, restaurants and office buildings of the central business district. The 9th Street project included new lighting, angled parking and landscaping and was completed in May, 2007.
The second project was completed in June, 2008. The project involved public improvements to 3rd Avenue between 12th and 10th Streets. Using the success of the 9th Street project as a guide, angled parking was implemented throughout the construction area. Sidewalks that were nearly impassable by foot were replaced. New streetlights were added along with a decorative traffic signal and new landscaping. The project included banners that invite persons to “Live, Work, Play, Dine and Shop Downtown”.
A third phase of construction is planned for 4th Avenue between 8th and 10th Streets. Construction is to begin late summer of 2008. Improvements to sidewalks, street lighting and landscaping are scheduled. This section of 4th Avenue is a part of the “Old Main Corridor” which connects Marshall University with the Huntington Central Business District. This section contains several contributing structures in the Downtown Huntington Historic District (listed on the National Register of Historic Places). Construction plans call for an expanded sidewalk area around the historic Keith-Albee Theatre (http://www.keithalbeearts.org/).
TIF District projects are funded by cooperative efforts of the City of Huntington Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, the Huntington-Ironton Empowerment Zone and a TIF Bond funded by four local banks (First Sentry Bank, Guaranty Bank, Huntington Federal Savings Bank and United Bank).
Zone Loan finishes a Successful Fourth Year
From restaurants to manufacturers and specialty retailers to healthcare providers, Zone Loan has funded them all. Created to help maintain and grow employment opportunities for Empowerment Zone residents, Zone Loan has provided nearly $2.5 million dollars in financing to thirteen different businesses. These businesses are responsible for over 650 employees working in the Empowerment Zone.
Zone Loan serves primarily as a subordinate lender in projects where owners obtain both bank financing and use their own equity in addition to a Zone Loan. Loans have ranged in size from $40,000 to $250,000. Zone Loan has experienced loan losses of 2% of funds borrowed. The successful operation of Zone Loan has led to an ongoing source of revolving funds for future loan requests. Loans have been utilized primarily in the two central business districts of Huntington, WV and Ironton, OH as well as the Point Industrial park located in South Point, OH.
Flex Building slated for Commerce Park
Commerce Park, located in the West End of Huntington’s Empowerment Zone, is set to receive a new kind of shell building. The building is referred to as a “flex” building, because tenant uses may include office space, warehousing, and light industrial use, hence the name “flex” building. The 32,000 square foot building will be able to accommodate six to 10 tenants when complete.
Flex Partners, LP, the developers of the building, is owned by Robert Childers along with the Huntington Area Development Council (HADCO). The building is being financed with a Zone Loan from the Empowerment Zone’s revolving loan fund, private equity, and bank financing. A West Virginia regional state office building and a 50-unit townhouse residential development called The Parks anchor Commerce Park.
Initial Project Approved for Downtown Huntington Tax Increment Finance District -- Construction to Begin Spring 2006
The West Virginia Development Office and the Huntington City Council approved the first project for the Tax Increment Finance (TIF) District. The new project includes streetscape improvements, new lighting, new signage and new signalization for Ninth Street Plaza, portions of Third Avenue and possibly Fourth Avenue. The purpose of the project is to unite Pullman Square with the existing fabric of downtown Huntington.
The Huntington, WV/Ironton, OH Empowerment Zone (EZ), acting as the City of Huntington’s authorized agent, obtained comments from various merchants and property owners about essential project results. The dominant message is clear – return Ninth Street Plaza to two-way traffic. Therefore, the project will connect vehicular and pedestrian flow, creating a similar appearance as Pullman Square.
R.D. Zande Engineering completed surveying downtown Huntington and construction drawings are currently being prepared. Documents are expected to be finished by late winter 2006. Construction contracts will be awarded near mid-spring 2006, with an expected phased construction period throughout summer and fall 2006. The project is estimated to be in excess of $3 million.
Funding sources for the project include an Empowerment Zone grant, the City of Huntington Community Development Block Grant Program, and a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) bond. Tax Increment Financing, a relatively new economic development tool in West Virginia, does not increase property taxes but merely redirects a portion of new property tax revenue within an approved district. Funds can only be used for state and locally approved improvements.
Zone Loan Enjoys Successful First Year
Zone Loan, the revolving loan program for businesses in the Empowerment Zone, has experienced a busy first year, closing four loans in excess of half a million dollars. The program provides much needed capital to leverage bank and private equity financing. The Zone Loan’s program goal is to help create and or retain much-needed jobs for Empowerment Zone residents.
Sharon Hartwig, the owner of Close to Home, Inc., an Ironton, Ohio adult care facility, depended on her Zone Loan to help finance a portion of renovations to make the facility more accommodating for the residents. Most importantly, 10 jobs were retained within the Empowerment Zone as a result of these improvements.
Ron Smith, owner of Chili Willi’s Mexican Cantina, a downtown Huntington tradition for over 20 years, utilized a Zone Loan to help purchase and expand a vacant storefront at 1315 Fourth Avenue. The new location allows for expanded seating, outdoor dining and parking. As a result, the existing staff was retained and 40 new jobs were created.
Cloretta Fuller, a previous successful business owner, owns and operates the new Merle Norman Cosmetics Studio located at Pullman Square in Downtown Huntington. A Zone Loan helped provide equipment and inventory financing for this new tenant of Pullman Square. Merle Norman’s three employees sell cosmetics as well as an assortment of women’s accessories and provide on-site hair styling.
Uno Chicago Grill was the first full service restaurant to open at Pullman Square. Owner Steve Neu secured a Zone Loan to help fill the final financing gap to complete the stores over 7,000 square foot restaurant. Over 100 full and part time jobs are now located in the Empowerment Zone due to the opening of Uno Chicago Grill.
Kinetic Park Welcomes Its First Tenant – Second Tenant Expected Soon
Kinetic Park, a 95-acre business and technology park in Huntington, welcomed the grand opening of its first commercial tenant, Bob Evans Restaurant, in July 2005. The Huntington Municipal Development Authority (HMDA) closed on the first sale of property, 1.3 acres. Bob Evans Restaurant creates 30 new full-time equivalent jobs for the area.
HMDA also gave unanimous consent to pursue negotiations for a future hotel/restaurant complex.
Kinetic Park is located between Interstate 64 and West Virginia Route 10. The Park is designed to accommodate high-tech office buildings, laboratories and other advanced facilities on the upper 25 acres. Kinetic Park is a gateway into the state traveling east, as well as the gateway to enter Huntington‘s downtown, Marshall University and medical school. The lower 12-acre site is reserved for commercial businesses.
The location of the park is ideal and with site development complete, the property is positioned for development. Without the Empowerment Zones (EZ) assistance, advancing to the construction phase of this project would not have happened.
Negotiations continue regarding possible developments and tenants for Kinetic Park. The first tenant signifies a major step in the technological community’s development and will accelerate progress for other developers to expand in the area.
The Empowerment Zone Continues Successful Scholarship Program
The Huntington, WV/Ironton, OH Empowerment Zone (EZ), in partnership with Ohio University Southern Campus (OU) and the city of Ironton, has named the second annual recipients for their newly created endowed scholarship program for Zone residents in Ironton who plan to attend OU Southern Campus. The 2005-2006 Ironton Empowerment Zone Service Scholarship recipients are, William Cremeans, LeAnn Willis, and Alisa Carter, all residents of Ironton, OH.
The $75,000 scholarship endowment is funded by the EZ, and will receive matching funds from OU Southern Campus. There is a maximum of a $2,000 annual award for four consecutive years – up to four awards available per year disbursed quarterly.
Scholarship recipients must be full-time, undergraduate students at OU
Southern Campus, and they must reside in the Ironton Empowerment Zone. The Ironton Zone stretches from Railroad to Spruce Street and from the floodwall to U.S. Route 52.
Students who receive scholarships are also required to participate in an approved community service internship designed to benefit the Ironton EZ community, while maintaining a 2.75 grade point average. These internships will be coordinated and approved through the Ironton mayor’s office.
Carter is a graduate of Ironton High School and is currently enrolled in OU Southern’s Nursing Program. Willis is also a nursing major at OU Southern. Both will be serving their internship with the Ironton Lawrence Community Action Organization Family Medical Center. Cremeans is a graduate of Ironton High School and he major is undecided, however, he is currently interested in psychology. Cremeans will serve his internship in Mayor Elam’s office in Ironton.
For consideration of the Ironton Empowerment Zone Service Scholarship, applications must be submitted by April 1 of each year.
For more information on this scholarship, call the EZ office at 740-547-3810 or go to www.empowerwv-oh.org.
New Ironton Building Improvement Program Launches
The Empowerment Zone has launched a new Building Exterior Improvement Program to encourage the preservation and rehabilitation of structures within Ironton’s Downtown Central Business District.
Those eligible for the program are owners of or those leasing commercial structures or mixed-use structures within the EZ’s defined district. This area includes the south side of Railroad Street to the north side of Adams Street, from the west side of Fourth Street to the railroad tracks of Norfolk & Southern Railroad.
Grant funding amounts are matched “dollar for dollar” and are based on following three criteria
- Building Height – the number of stories of the building (stories are as defined by the current building code)
- Building Street Frontage – the combined length of all sides of the building visible along a public street
- Architectural Significance – buildings that have been deemed eligible for the National Register and have successfully completed a Part One application for the Register
In addition to a Building Exterior Grant, an applicant may apply for one of two additional grants – either an Awning or Sign Grant. Awning and sign grants are also “dollar for dollar” matching grants and are available for the cost of design, permits, fabrication and installation. There is a $1,000 maximum on these awards.
All work performed must be pursuant to the architectural renderings and specifications approved by the City of Ironton Design Review Board and must comply with the City of Ironton Design Guidelines.
Click here for the Ironton Building Exterior Improvement Program Summary.
Click here for the Ironton Building Exterior Program Application.
Another Early Christmas Present for Downtown Huntington – Pullman Square Continues to Expand
Moe's Southwest Grill opens mid-November, providing another early Christmas present for downtown Huntington as Pullman Square continues to expand. The retail, entertainment, and business options in the complex are expected to multiply as Pullman Square celebrates its second anniversary on November 19, 2005.
Last November, Pullman Square officially opened with the much-anticipated 16-screen Marquee Cinemas and the Transit Authority’s two parking garages. Empire Books and News, along with Starbucks, opened shortly after.
Since the grand opening, several stores have opened in Pullman Square including: Electronics Boutique, a video-game retailer; Merle Norman, a cosmetics store; Cold Stone Creamery, a specialty ice cream store; Funny Bone Comedy Club; Digital Communications; Uno Chicago Grill; and Max & Erma’s Restaurant. TTA also runs a shuttle service between Pullman Square and Marshall University that is available to ride free.
Huntington’s Third Avenue Redeveloped Just In Time for Pullman Square Opening
Just as the retail, entertainment and business complex Pullman Square opened, downtown Third Avenue was opened to two-way traffic. Starting at 13th Street and ending at the 6th Street Bridge Ramp, Third Avenue is now a two-way thoroughfare for easier access to Pullman Square.
New traffic signals, sidewalks, lighting, and trees are being installed to compliment Pullman Square, making the area pedestrian friendly. This contributes to the continued revitalization of vacant downtown Third Avenue buildings.
First Zone Loan Awarded to Ironton Adult Care Facility
The new Zone Loan program, a recently launched revolving lending program for businesses in the Empowerment Zone, has awarded its first loan to Close to Home, Inc. Sharon Hartwig, owner, was in need of long-term working capital for her 14-resident facility.
A Zone Loan, in combination with a commercial bank loan and Ms. Hartwig’s equity contribution were the perfect combination to retain 10 jobs and maintain 14 residents within the Empowerment Zone. Ms. Hartwig had self-financed renovations that made the facility more accommodating for the residents.
As the name implies, Close to Home strives to provide a home-like atmosphere in an adult residential setting. For more information on the Zone Loans Program, please visit the “Zone Loan” section on our website.
New ZONE LOAN Program Launches
The Empowerment Zone has funded a revolving lending program titled ZONE LOAN for all eligible businesses within the Zone.
Applicants for the loan funds include for-profit and not-for-profit entities that implement projects that assist economic revitalization within the Zone. These initiatives will facilitate the creation and/or retention of employment opportunities through increased investment of private and public capital.
In order to determine whether or not a business qualifies for a ZONE LOAN, the EZ will look at the extent of the economic impact, number and type of jobs created or retained, the amount of leveraging of private capital, and the increase of industrial, manufacturing, commercial and technological business development within the EZ.
To qualify for a loan, the project must be located within the EZ census tracts or developable sites. Businesses can go to the address locator website, www.hud.gov/crlocator, to find out if they are located in the EZ.
Re-designing Huntington’s 3rd Avenue for Pullman Square
As part of the development of Pullman Square—the future retail, entertainment and business complex in downtown Huntington—the city will be making improvements to 3rd Avenue.
The goal is to address traditional traffic concerns and make it easier for foot traffic from Pullman Square to flow easily into the existing downtown Huntington businesses. The project, which could include converting 3rd Avenue into a two-way thoroughfare in the vicinity of the Square, also encompasses designing and building streetscapes and improving sidewalks to make them more pedestrian-friendly.
The city has hired R.D. Zande & Associates of Columbus, OH for $30,000 to conduct conceptual studies and surveys and prepare contract documents. Funding for the study phase of the project will come from the federal Community Development Block Grant program. Funding for construction will come from the federal Community Development Block Grant program and the Huntington, WV-Ironton, OH Empowerment Zone.
Empowerment Zone Contribution Helps Make Pullman Square a Reality – Twelve Tenants Occupy
Pullman Square - the $60 million restaurant, retail and entertainment complex that's under construction in downtown Huntington - was made a reality with the help of the Huntington, West Virginia/Ironton, Ohio Empowerment Zone (EZ).
The EZ contributed $500,000 towards the assembling of the land - partnering with Huntington Urban Renewal Authority, The Transit Authority, the City of Huntington, Huntington Metropolitan, and a private developer - to pull together the funds required to develop the entire eight-acre site. Though difficult, the land assembly was the first hurdle to overcome in making the development a reality. This cooperative effort could not have happened without this critical land purchase.
These public partnerships exhibited early on showed that public leaders and the community were eager to have this development within the Zone. It also sent a strong message to the developer that the Zone was a great location for private investment.
Tim Rollins, project developer, stated, "I am pleased the development is located within the Empowerment Zone and tenants are eligible for federal tax incentives."
Now Pullman Square proudly hosts twelve tenants, five of which are totally new to West Virginia.
In addition to the 16-screen Marquee Cinema and two large parking garages, here is what you can expect to see at Pullman Square:
Cold Stone Creamery
Located near the Marquee Cinema, Cold Stone Creamery offers made-to-order ice cream creations to each customer by blending mix-ins on a frozen granite stone. The gourmet ice cream is served in a fresh-baked waffle cone. This sweet shop occupies 1,250 square feet and was the first in West Virginia. Cold Stone Creamery is often named ”best of” in the cities where it’s located.
Headquarters: Scottsdale, AZ
Locations: More than 1000 stores in 50 states, the Caribbean, Guam and Puerto Rico
The Funny Bone Comedy Club
The Funny Bone features stand-up comedians with weekly headliners presented in a two-level, state-of-the-art club format. A national leader in comedy club operations, The Funny Bone occupies 6,700 square feet. It is also “appearing for the first time” in West Virginia.
Locations: 14 clubs nationwide
Moe’s Southwest Grill
Also facing 3rd Avenue, Moe’s Southwest Grill is one of the country’s fastest rising stars in the “quick-casual” dining category. Featuring burritos made daily from the freshest ingredients, Moe’s also offers tacos, quesadillas and salads for lunch, dinner and catering. The 2,300-square-foot location is the first in West Virginia.
Headquarters: Atlanta, GA
Locations: nearly 300 stores across the country
Pizzeria Uno Chicago Grill
Sharing the building next to the Holiday Inn and Suites, Pizzeria Uno – which was originally known for its Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza – now offers a full lunch and dinner menu in a casual family-style setting. The restaurant occupies 7,200 square feet at Pullman Square and will offer outdoor patio seating in addition to numerous indoor tables and booths.
Headquarters: Boston, MA
Locations: More than 200 restaurants nationally, with five in West Virginia
Located on a high-profile corner of the Pullman Square development overlooking the square and facing 3rd Avenue, Starbucks occupies 1,600 square feet and provide both indoor and outdoor, café-style seating.
Starbucks is the premier retailer of whole bean coffees, rich-brewed espresso beverages, premium teas, pastries and confections, and this was its fifth location in West Virginia.
Headquarters: Seattle, WA
Locations: Starbucks Coffee Company has more than 7,500 retail locations worldwide
Max & Erma’s
Located on the second level next to Marquee Cinemas, Max & Erma’s restaurant features outdoor seating that overlooks Huntington’s skyline on Third Avenue, which accommodates more than 90 people in warm weather. It’s another first in West Virginia.
Committed to being the “Hometown Favorite,” Max & Erma’s empower their restaurants with a degree of menu flexibility so they may respond to local preferences.
Headquarters: Columbus, Ohio
Locations: 102 restaurants located throughout PA, WV, NC, GA, VA, WI, KY, OH, IN, MO and MI.
The new Merle Norman Cosmetics offers cosmetics and an assortment of women’s accessories as well as an on-site hair stylist. Founded in 1931, their knowledgeable Beauty Consultants are trained to help select the skin care and color products for each individual, encouraging customers to "Try Before You Buy." Merle Norman remains a family-owned business dedicated to helping women everywhere look their absolute best.
Headquarters: Los Angeles, CA
Locations: 2,000 independently owned and operated Merle Norman Cosmetic Studios in the United States and Canada, and 10 international store locations.
The Transit Authority – West Virginia
The Pullman Square Shuttle service, the first of many linkages that will be developed between Marshall and the Huntington community will ride around the loop from Third Avenue to Eight Street, Eight Street to Sixth Avenue, Sixth Avenue to 20th Street, 20th Street to Third Avenue, and Third Avenue back to Pullman Square.
The shuttle service runs Monday through Saturday, beginning at Pullman Square and continues every 20 minutes. The fare is free
This local wireless communications provider is the store’s seventh location in West Virginia. Digital Communications provides products and calling plans for cellular and phone providers including Alltel, Nextel, Sprint, Ntelos and WV Wireless. The store also offers the home satellite provider Dish Network.
The store offers over 1,600 square feet of electronic video gaming. Everything from the most recent video game releases, all major gaming systems and gaming accessories and magazines are available. EB Games also sells and buys used games and systems.
Location: 4200 worldwide
Headquarters: Grapvine, TX
Empire Books and News
Pullman Square is home to the first Empire Book and News. This location has over 12,000 square feet of books and periodicals. In addition to a generous children’s section and large selection of books, Empire offers a periodicals section second to none.
Headquarters: Columbus, OH
A state of the art 16-screen cinema complex featuring the latest in viewing comfort and sound system. The concession area features tradition favorites of popcorn and candy, plus an expanded menu of nachos and cheese, hot dogs and pretzels.
Headquarters: Beckley, WV
Locations: More than 20 locations in WV, OH, KY, VA, FL, TN, AL, NC, NY, PA, MA, CT
For more information on the progress of Pullman Square, please contact Cathy Burns, Executive Director of the Huntington/Ironton Empowerment Zone, at 740-547-3810.
New Development at The Point—A Shell Building Takes Shape
Construction is underway on a $1.3 million, 42,000-square-foot shell building at The Point, a South Point, Ohio industrial park. The building should be ready for occupancy by June.
The shell building is the first of several 2004 projects planned for the 500-acre industrial park as part of the Empowerment Zone’s developable site, and economic development officials hope the park will bring several thousand jobs to the area in the upcoming years.
Approximately one acre will be under roof at the new shell building, which will also have 26-foot high ceilings, two loading docks and 40-foot-wide bays. In addition, the site will have 50 parking spaces.
The shell building will lease for about $2.75 per square foot, or $100,000 a year. There have already been a number of inquiries about the property, but no one has signed a lease yet. Tenants will be eligible for federal tax incentives.
The chamber has, however, started an $80,000 marketing campaign for the shell building and the industrial park. Half of this communications budget was provided through state funds.
For this project, the state partnered with the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation, the economic development arm of the chamber. The development corporation borrowed $500,000 while the state provided $500,000 in funding. Another $200,000 in funding was provided by the Huntington, WV-Ironton, OH Empowerment Zone.
Construction will also begin this spring on a $900,000 project to build a 6,000-square-foot training center and a $2.5 million project to bring infrastructure improvements including water, sewer and road building to the industrial park.
Construction on the training center could begin in May and would take 9 to 12 months. In addition, the development corporation was recently notified that it would receive $70,000 in tobacco settlement money to help build roads in the industrial park.
New EZ Scholarship
Program for Ohio University Southern Campus
In partnership with Ohio University Southern Campus
in Ironton, Ohio and Ironton Mayor Bob Cleary,
the Huntington, WV-Ironton, OH Empowerment Zone
(EZ) has created a new endowed scholarship program
for Zone residents in Ironton who plan to attend
OU Southern Campus.
The $75,000 scholarship program will be funded
by the EZ, and it will receive matching funds
from OU Southern Campus. Students will first be
able to take advantage of the scholarships in
fall quarter 2004. The deadline for application
will be April 1, 2004.
Scholarship recipients must be full-time, undergraduate
students at OU Southern Campus, and they must
reside in the Ironton Empowerment Zone. The Ironton
Zone stretches from Railroad to Spruce Street
and from the floodwall to U.S. Route 52. Students
who receive scholarships are also required to
participate in an approved community service internship
designed to benefit the Ironton EZ community.
These internships will be coordinate and approved
through the Ironton mayor’s office.
Each scholarship award will be renewable for
up to 12 quarters of undergraduate study as long
as the student is making satisfactory progress
toward graduation. Scholarship students are required
to maintain a grade point average of 2.75.
After all applications are received in April
of 2004, the Ironton Empowerment Zone Scholarship
Selection Committee will review all applicants
and make recommendations to the university. The
EZ committee will include a representative from
the OU dean’s office, the Ironton mayor’s
office and the EZ community. With input and direction
from this committee, the final awards will be
made by the OU Southern Campus Selection Committee.
For more information on this scholarship, please
contact Cathy Burns, Executive Director of the
Huntington-Ironton Empowerment Zone at 740-547-3810.
Boys are Granted a New Place to Call
The Mended Reeds Homes for Children opened its
doors to young boys in September 2002 thanks to
a matching grant from the Huntington, West Virginia-Ironton,
Ohio Empowerment Zone. The home provides a safe
place for boys, ages 14-20, to live, continue
their education, receive professional counseling
and support, develop their social skills and find
jobs in the local community.
The shelter, which now employs a dozen full-time
people, was remodeled from an old home that was
originally built around 1890. The house has been
restored to its original Queen Anne-style architecture
and updated with all new wiring and security systems.
The transformation of this property was made possible
by the combination of generous community contributions
and a matching grant from the Huntington-Ironton
The First Baptist Church of Ironton raised $5,000
for the cause and Big Sandy Super Store made a
“sizeable” contribution which allowed
the agency to purchase the property without taking
out a loan, according to David Lambert, Director
of Mended Reeds. Lambert then secured a $70,000
matching grant from the Huntington-Ironton EZ
to complete this $140,000 project.
Because of the enormous community support and
the utilization of the EZ’s matching grant
program, the agency is now fully operational and
Before Mended Reeds was completed, there was
no place for young boys without the support of
family or public assistance to go for help and
guidance in building a strong foundation for their
adult lives. Today there are 10 boys, ages 14-18,
from the Ironton, Ohio area living in the facility,
attending local schools and working at local businesses.
The facility, which operates as a faith-based,
non-profit independent living center, is also
licensed and equipped to provide foster care and
adoption services to the community.
For more information on Lambert’s successful
development using the EZ matching grant program,
please contact Cathy Burns, Executive Director
of the Huntington-Ironton Empowerment Zone, at
Create a Win-Win Situation for Local Businesses
& “At Risk” Youth
Through a combined series of EZ-sponsored partnerships
and grants, the Cabell County Youth Empowerment
Program in Huntington, West Virginia is now making
a difference in the lives of youth ages 14-21
who have dropped out of school, quit school and
are deficient in educational and job training
skills – and helping local businesses, too.
A partnership with and funding through the Region
2 Workforce Development Office helped get this
project off the ground. The program is funded
by the federal Workforce Investment Act, Huntington,
WV-Ironton, OH Empowerment Zone, City of Huntington
and Community Development Block Grant. Following
its inception, program directors worked with the
EZ to form mutually beneficial alliances with
more than 16 local businesses. Here’s how
The businesses hire students enrolled in the
Youth Empowerment Program, thereby providing “at
risk” youth with the invaluable job skills
and training they need to prosper. The businesses
not only have the chance to make a difference
in individual lives and the community at large,
they also have the opportunity to train future
employees at no cost, and receive an annual $3,000
federal tax credit for each student they hire.
The program has been very successful and has
now moved into the recently renovated Douglas
High School building, which offers a state-of-the-art
computer lab and on-site access to many other
types of educational and vocational training.
This facility, which provides a centralized location
for all program offerings, was transformed using
$650,000 of EZ funds.
For more information on the successful development
of mutually-beneficial community programs, please
contact Cathy Burns, Executive Director of the
Huntington-Ironton Empowerment Zone, at 740-547-3817.
Organizes Tax Credit Seminar & Offers CPEs
to the Tri-State Area
The Huntington, WV-Ironton, OH Empowerment Zone
organized and conducted a Tax Credit Seminar to
educate and encourage local EZ businesses to fully
utilize the tax advantages that come from being
an EZ business and employing EZ residents.
Ms. Linda Schakel, a specialist in tax-exempt
bond filing, presented information on wage credits,
expensing and tax-exempt bonds to an audience
made up of accountants, business owners/managers,
lawyers, bankers and economic development professionals.
Overall, more than 40 local professionals from
the tri-state area attended.
As an added benefit to the attendees, the Empowerment
Zone worked to get the program approved for Continuing
Professional Education (CPE) credit by the West
Virginia Board of Accountancy. The seminar was
indeed accredited and each attorney and accountant
who attended received two hours of continuing
professional education credit.
“The seminar was a great success,”
said Cathy Burns, Executive Director of the Huntington-Ironton
Empowerment Zone. “We received a lot of
positive feedback and we’re planning to
make some improvements and do it again next year,”
In the future, the EZ will schedule the seminar
during the summer months when workloads are lighter
in an effort to boost attendance even more. Also,
they are planning to organize two separate sessions,
one for business people in general and one specifically
geared for accountants.
For more information on organizing a tax credit
seminar and receiving CPE accreditation, please
contact Cathy Burns, Executive Director of the
Huntington-Ironton Empowerment Zone, at 740-547-3810.