Economic Development

Board of Control Approves Fireline, Gasser Expansions

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Youngstown Board of Control this morning approved assistance for expansion projects at Fireline Inc. and Gasser Chair Co., as well as the purchase of additional property for the riverfront amphitheater and park.

Fireline is planning to spend $5.7 million on a 25,000-square-foot addition to its existing plant as part of the first phase of a proposed 76,000-square-foot expansion the company has planned for the next decade. The company plans to create 21 new jobs over the next three years, according to city documents.

For Fireline, the board approved an enterprise zone agreement and a development agreement, as well as a quit claim deed for two city lots on Oak Street near the Andrews Avenue plant. The city will be paid $10 for the lots.

The enterprise zone agreement provides for a 10-year, 75% abatement of real property taxes for the project, while the development agreement provides a water/wastewater grant of up to $350,000 for expenses related to the project.

Gasser, which is spending $923,700 to convert an existing warehouse into manufacturing space, received city approval for a water/wastewater grant of up to $50,000 for eligible expenses. The company expects to create 20 jobs over three years with its project.

Both projects involve companies that are in growth mode, said T. Sharon Woodberry, director of community planning and economic development. With both agreements finalized, Woodberry expects Fireline and Gasser to begin work in the next 30 days.

“These are projects that we are excited to provide support to,” she said. “They are companies that are doing well and their expansion is a result of that.”

The water/wastewater grant reimbursement requests will be reviewed by architect Paul Ricciuti, who the city hired in December to act as an additional set of eyes on such deals following a recommendation by Ohio Auditor David Yost.

“The things that he checks for are to make sure that the expenses are reimbursable per the agreement” and that the work is performed adequately, said city Law Director Martin Hume.

Ricciuti submits his written approval for the reimbursements to the community planning and economic development office for review by Woodberry, who will then address any questions, depending on the issue, to either the architect or Hume.

The board also entered into a purchase agreement with Norfolk Southern Railway Co. to acquire property related to the riverfront park and amphitheater project, paying $32,500 for the half-acre property on the north borer of the project site, Hume said.

In other business, the city approved paying $29,998 to Ohio Edison Co. to remove existing power lines and extend new ones to the City Hall Annex. The new service is required for the renovations taking place at the building, which is being converted into housing the city courts and related offices, and to provide service to the amphitheater site nearby, said Chuck Shasho, the city’s deputy director of public works.

The board also approved a $272,000 contract with Siegel Excavating LLC of Edinburg, Pa., to demolish the former Cavanaugh building on Rayen Avenue.

Woodberry told Board of Control members that there has been interest in adjacent property but the demolition needed to move forward before the proposed project can move forward. The building, which is in the city’s land bank, has been vacant for at least 18 years, Woodberry said.

“It’s in deplorable condition. Some of the floors have collapsed,” said Abigail Beniston, code enforcement and blight remediation superintendent, adding that she expects work to begin in about three weeks.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.