LISBON – While COVID-19 plagued nearly every aspect of the economy during 2020, the Columbiana County Port Authority saw its busiest year, says Executive Director Penny Traina.
The port is administering 20 grants totaling $4.5 million for street and road improvements, water/sewer, pocket parks, workforce development, the creation of a global investment hub and three maritime projects for businesses along the Ohio River.
Six pending grant applications would add $2.1 million for renovations at the Cherry Fork industrial facility in Leetonia, facade renovation of the Thompson building in East Liverpool, hiring economic development recovery coordinators, brownfield identification and other projects.
Last year, the port authorized an infrastructure financing loan program to assist local governments. The village of Leetonia borrowed $425,000 for five years at 2% interest for street improvements. “We can lend to government entities that have the capacity to incur general obligation debt and give them funds to make infrastructure improvements,” Traina says.
Additionally, the port authority
installed a 2CT 400 dual electric vehicle charging station outside its Lincole Place office in Lisbon.
It also recognized Mark Lamoncha, CEO and president of Humtown Products, for receiving the 2020 Manufacturer of the Year award from the National Association of Manufacturers, and hosted a networking seminar with the Columbiana County Office of Economic Development.
This year, the port looks to build capacity in its grants department and increase efforts in business retention, workforce development and entrepreneurial infrastructure, while increasing awareness of the Ohio River and seeking maritime funding.