Columbiana County Port Authority Awards $1.6M for Projects

LISBON, Ohio – Two industries located along the Ohio River will be able to complete pending projects after the Columbiana County Port Authority board of directors awarded contractor bids totaling more than $1.6 million.

During a teleconference meeting Tuesday morning, the board awarded a $1,343,228 bid to Marion Hill Associates Inc. of New Brighton, Pa., for a barge dock renovation project at S.H. Bell Company in East Liverpool and a $264,535 bid to Witmer’s Construction Inc. of Salem for a warehouse building project at Quality Liquid Feeds, located at the Wellsville Intermodal Park.

Through a program enacted by the Ohio General Assembly, the port authority secured Maritime Assistant Grant funding earmarked exclusively for water-based freight projects to increase cargo handling and facilitate commerce on rivers and lakes. 

Each of the companies had to commit a 50 percent match for the grant funding awarded. S.H. Bell received a total grant award of $1,005,695, and QLF received $422,640.

According to Penny Traina, executive director of the port authority, the dock replacement project at S.H. Bell has been on hold since 2019 due to the COVID pandemic, during which prices tripled, and she told the board, “So, I’m very happy to have this on the agenda today to complete.”

The project entails expanding the existing barge unloading dock, which will increase unloading efficiency and capacity. The existing dock had a 20-year lifespan, which Traina said has been exceeded.

Previously, S.H. Bell also received a MAP grant for purchase of a new Manitowoc cable boom crane, and that project has been completed.

The Quality Liquid Feed project involves equipment acquisition as well as property improvements, production efficiency, additional storage and product protection with construction of a new 40-by-60-by-16-foot storage building and concrete slab.

After the meeting, Traina said the port authority has been “highly successful” in being awarded MAP grants, which have “definitely made an impact increasing cargo handling on the Ohio River.”

She said the grants have also helped further market the important part the Ohio River plays not only in Columbiana County but the region.

“This is our way of making a difference and bringing awareness to the river’s importance,” Traina said, offering her thanks to the General Assembly for recognizing the importance of Ohio’s marine highway.

Traina also noted at the meeting that the port authority is in the process of seeking bids for several Community Development Block Grant projects in the county, but said, “We’re not seeing the high traffic of contractors coming in and picking up packets. We encourage them to come in.”

Columbiana County commissioners receive CDBG allocations, which can be used for a variety of infrastructure projects, and Traina said projects already selected and up for bid are in Columbiana, Salem and Salineville. 

Contractors interested in obtaining bid packets can call 330 424 1800.

The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. May 22 at the port authority offices.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.