Aqua Ohio Breaks Ground for $2.5M Operations Center

STRUTHERS, Ohio – The Struthers division of Aqua Ohio plans to be in its new operations center at Castlo Industrial Park by the end of the year, officials said Monday at groundbreaking for the $2.5 million building.

Employees of the division are spread out at three locations: the operations center on State Street, the distribution center at Castlo and the plant in Poland, said Aqua Ohio President Ed Kolodziej.

“We’re shooting for the end of the year,” Kolodziej announced. “We will be pushing it a bit,” he added before expressing confidence to “get in before winter. It is very important to have our staff who runs the division here at Castlo with the distribution folks. They’re the ones who read the meters, fix the pipes and help the customers when there’s a problem.”

The 14,300-square-foot building will allow Aqua Ohio to consolidate the division’s operations and administrative staff under one roof, said area manager Jennifer Johnson. Once the new building is complete, a staff of 13 will work there.

The move “will surely make it more efficient for us to serve our customers,” she said, not only in Struthers but in the other Mahoning County communities Aqua Ohio serves.

The division serves customers in the city of Struthers, the villages of Poland, Lowellville and New Middletown, and the townships of Beaver, Boardman, Canfield, Coitsville, Poland and Springfield.

“We’ve built a relationship with Aqua over the past 90 years,” Mayor Terry Stocker said. Having Aqua continue its investment in Struthers “means a lot to our community,” he said.

Tucker Cope & Associates Inc., Columbiana, is general contractor for the operations center to be built on a five-acre site, part of the land rehabilitated through a $3.5 million Ohio Job Ready sites grant, said Sarah Lown, public finance manager for the Northeast Ohio Development and Finance Authority, a division of the Western Reserve Port Authority.

The Castlo Community Improvement Corp. contracted with the port authority last year to provide management and marketing services for the industrial park, which Lown oversees as its executive director.

The $2.5 million project represents one aspect of Aqua Ohio’s planned investment of more than $10 million in the Mahoning Valley this year. Other projects include a planned upgrade to the Poland Township treatment plant and main replacements.

The new Aqua Ohio structure is the second new building in the industrial park in 40 years, following Pilot Flying J, Lown said.

It is also the third major investment made at the site in the last 12 months, said Randy Partika, chairman of the Castlo board and project manager for NEODFA. Another company, Penn Ohio Sealing, renovated an existing building at the park. “Hopefully there will be a lot more to come here in the future,” he said.

Partika and Lown serve as nonvoting members on the Castlo CIC board.

“We’re in confidential negotiations right now with a prospect that would bring significant jobs,” Lown said. “We will know probably in September or October how that will resolve itself. We’re very optimistic.”

The prospect itself would occupy some five acres, but ancillary and support services affiliated with the company could take the rest of the industrial park’s available acreage, she said.

Johnson described herself as pleased to learn of Castlo’s plans for the park. “We felt it was important for us to be a part of that expansion,” she said, “given how important this is to this entire region.”

Pictured above: Kenny Day, project manager, Ed Kolodziej, president of Aqua Ohio, and Jennifer Johnson, area manager.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.