Economic Development

New Chief Reviews All Aspects of CCPA

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EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio – The executive director of the Columbiana County Port Authority, Penny Traina, is taking charge of the economic development agency, examining and reviewing every aspect of its operations.

In the four months since becoming executive director, Traina has focused on managing the port authority and making the municipalities and  townships more aware of how the port authority can benefit them.

She is also educating her board of directors as she becomes more aware of the many agencies in the region dedicated to economic development and establishing informal partnerships.

She invites speakers to address her board on the scope of their efforts, which they do at the end of the business sessions. Monday night Mousa H. Kassis, international program director of the small business development center at Youngstown State University, told the five directors about the capabilities of his office to help businesses in Columbiana County export their manufactures.

Traina’s focus on management has led to what she calls “audits” of the tenants who lease space from the port authority. She has been visiting the physical plants of the tenants to both learn more about their businesses and how the port authority can better support them.

In reviewing their needs, she learns whether they need space to expand their operations and their use of the utilities the port authority provides.

As Tad Herold, fiscal officer of the port authority, reminded the board last night, its biggest expenses are electricity, gas and interest.

With this in mind, Traina recommended the board renew the leases as modified of HK Technologies Inc. in Leetonia and Ohio Valley Herbal Products Inc., housed in the part authority building, 1250 St. George St.

HK Technologies has been successful in sifting the ingredients of a wide variety of materials used in everything from cosmetics to drugs, shipping its processed materials throughout the world, the chairman of the port authority, Charles Presley noted.

HK also needs more space and in renewing its one-year lease agreed to pay $1,321 a month, up from $162, and expand to 12,037 square feet from 4,850 feet. Basic rent remains $3 a foot, which includes utilities, Traina noted. The lease runs through May 31, 2017.

Traina told her board that she visited HK, going inside its plant, “measuring the space they used and pairing it with utility costs.”

She intends to do the same with all tenants, inspecting their space in the three months before their leases are up for renewal. “Everything’s being audited,” she said.

Ohio Valley Herbal will pay a slight increase in its rent, $2.50 per square foot, up from $2.25, for its 3,500 feet on the first floor, which reflects the rise in utilities, and so pay $729 a month.

The lease runs from Aug. 1 through July 31, 2017.

Traina reported without elaboration that AMP, a shell corporation that has taken an option to buy land in the industrial park just outside Leetonia, has sought an additional 60 days to decide whether to exercise it option. It wired the $25,000 nonrefundable fee, Traina said after the meeting.

AMP had sought, and received, a 90-day extension before the last extension that runs through Aug. 4.

AMP had proposed to build a $100 million metals processing plant in Fairfield Township, a project announced last July. Township trustees agreed to allow the city of Columbiana to annex the land so it could extend electricity, water and sewer lines to the site, only to see those efforts come to naught.

The port authority stepped in and proposed land in the industrial park, which AMP accepted but continues to review.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.