CCPA Denied Brownfield Grant, Approved for Energy Grant

Lisbon, OHIO – Grant-related matters dominated business conducted Monday by the Columbiana County Port Authority board, which learned the port was denied a grant for brownfield assessment.

During the meeting, held by teleconference, Executive Director Penny Traina advised she had learned May 7 the application was not approved for a $600,000 EPA Brownfield Assessment Grant.

The port authority had partnered Nov. 19 with Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association, or Omega, in applying for the grant, earmarked for supporting future development and long-term economic well-being of the area.

Traina said Omega will be scheduling a debriefing with the U.S. EPA to discuss improvements that may be needed in the application process, if a decision is made to reapply.

Traina also reported the port authority was awarded $77,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission and Governor’s Office of Appalachia grant for energy upgrades to Leetonia Industrial Park.

The total cost of the project is $154,000, with the $77,000 representing the port authority’s 50% match.  

Traina offered praise to her staff member Brittany Smith and the governor’s office in assisting with the grant application. 

In other grant-related matters, Traina said that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2019 Regional Job Training Program Grant deadline has been moved to Dec. 15, 2021, reminding the board the $250,000 grant will go to the Compco Quaker Manufacturing for its training center, a project Traina said is “going very well.”

The board took action on a resolution approving the port authority as administrator for the 2020 Community Development Block Grant Program for Columbiana County commissioners, who requested the measure. 

Traina said this is the second time the port authority has served in this capacity for commissioners, who have already signed the paperwork, according to attorney Timothy Brookes. 

A total of $392,000 is available and seven applications are expected to be presented at Wednesday’s commissioner meeting, according to Traina, who said applications will then be submitted to the state for consideration by June 17.

The vote supporting the resolution was 3-0-1, with member Tad Herold abstaining, due to his position as county economic development director.

Approved unanimously by the board was a resolution amending the port authority’s employee manual to include a telework policy derived as a direct result of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. 

Retroactive to March 23, the policy will be in place while the current emergency extends or if a future emergency makes it necessary for employees to work from home. 

Employees working from home must be available by phone and email during work hours and must be available for meetings, according to the policy.

Port authority staff returned to working in the Lincole Place offices May 12, although the office will remain closed to the public until further notice, with Traina telling the board the staff is monitoring Gov. Mike DeWine’s daily updates.

Traina said the current pandemic “has given us time to pause and think outside the box in what our normal operating procedures are.”

The port authority is in the process of creating a Business Continuity Plan, which Traina described as a “measure that involves creating a system of prevention and recovery from potential threats to the port. The plan ensures that personnel and assets are protected and can function quickly in the event of a disaster.”

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.