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This is another opinion-editorial column from the Port Authority.

                              OP-ED COLUMN

July 30, 2004                   Rick Platt, 740-788-5500 ext. 35

By:  Rick Platt

There is no deep water port on the Licking River, yet Licking County is home to 
the fourth-largest port authority in Ohio. 

In Toledo and Cleveland, the port authorities run deep water ports.  In Columbus, 
Port Columbus and Rickenbacker airports are port-authority run.   Columbiana 
County’s port authority owns a railroad.  Pittsburgh’s port authority operates 

The Heath-Newark-Licking County Port Authority doesn’t use ships, trains, 
airplanes, or buses in doing its job, but the Port Authority does have an impact 
for many people in Licking County every day.

The Port Authority has a three-part mission aimed at growth for Licking County.

Management:  The Port Authority’s main mission is as property manager for the 
nearly one million square feet of building space at “The Base” in Heath.  The 
Base campus is the portion of the Central Ohio Aerospace and Technology Center 
(C.O.A.T.C.) which comprises the former Newark Air Force Base.

As the stewards of a facility which, in total, employs over 900 people and 
impacts the region’s economy to the tune of an estimated $200 million every 
year, this is an important function indeed.  Boeing, Bionetics, BAE Systems, 
the U.S. Air Force, and Lockheed Martin make up an impressive tenant-base which 
includes a presence for four Fortune 100 companies and six of the Top 20 Dept. 
of Defense contractors.

In addition to the typical building management duties, the Port Authority is 
engaged in building of a different sort—caucus building.  We’ve made it our 
job to maintain a caucus of supporters at the federal, state, and local level 
who understand the importance of The Base to national security and to the 
regional economy.  It’s this caucus that gives us an edge in a highly-
competitive field.

Development:  With the purchase of additional acreage in 2002, the Port 
Authority is now serving as developer for a 350-acre business campus.  We hope 
to soon be under construction with a state-funded road extension project, the 
first major infrastructure improvement to this piece of property in 50 years.  

Acquisition and construction are just the beginning steps toward the ultimate 
goal of attracting private capital investment and jobs.  Getting this unique 
piece of property ready for development puts Licking County on the map for 
projects that, previously, were unattainable.

Leadership:  As a countywide Port Authority, we want our local developers and 
economic development officials to know we are on their team—ready, willing, 
and able to assist them in competing globally.

The Port Authority has been vocal about retaining competitive rail service 
like the sort Licking County has enjoyed for more than a century.  The Port 
Authority has also been an advocate for joint economic development marketing 
efforts and supported activities aimed at increased preparation for local 
officials involved in economic development.

The work of the Heath-Newark-Licking County Port Authority goes mostly 
unnoticed, but these are facts for which all Licking Countians can be proud.

                                #  #  #

Platt is the Executive Director of the Heath-Newark-Licking County Port 
Authority.  More information can be found online at

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