EAST LIVERPOOL - The new owners of the former Parsons Coal Co. hope the deal will eventually create more jobs, especially if they are able to redevelop an adjoining piece of property.
"We're enthusiastic about the opportunities in Columbiana County," said Jim McClurg, who, along with his brother Gary, recently purchased the assets of Parsons Coal.
McClurg is president of Seaforth Mineral & Ore, which is located next door to Parsons Coal in downtown East Liverpool along the Ohio River. Seaforth operates a mineral processing and distribution facility there, while Parsons operates a truck/barge transfer and storage facility.
McClurg contacted the newspaper following a story about county Port Authority efforts to help Seaforth acquire the company. McClurg said he and his brother, not Seaforth, purchased Parsons, and this occurred several months ago.
The company was reconstituted as the Parsons Terminal Co., Ltd., which continues to operate in the same capacity as before. "We're basically doing what they did and with the same customers," he said.
As part of the deal, McClurg said they opted against acquiring several parcels of property that are owned by North Star Coal, which is affiliated with Parsons Coal. They are instead leasing the property for now.
The reasons is the property has some possible environmental issues, after having been used in various industrial capacities by numerous companies over the past 120 years. McClurg said these environmental issues would have to be addressed before they would acquire the rest of the property before it could be redeveloped.
The McClurgs are working with the Port Authority to have the agency acquire state funding to determine the extent of any environmental issues and what it could cost to address those issues so the property can be redeveloped.
"It's our hope to fully rehabilitate the property and purchase it from the owner and move forward," he said.
McClurg said the acquisition of Parsons Coal preserved 10 existing jobs, "and our hope is with this rehabilitation there would definitely be job growth" resulting from redevelopment of the North Star property.
McClurg said Seaforth has been doing well and that has been without any benefit from additional business resulting from the shale gas boom underway in the region. He said both companies are in a good position to take advantage of the boom once it begins to pick up speed.