Fireline Project, Manufacturing Center on Council Agenda

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – City Council tonight will consider several incentives for Fireline Inc.’s planned $5.7 million expansion of its manufacturing plant.

Yesterday the Youngstown Planning Commission recommended rezoning several properties on Watt, Adams and Elk streets from either Multi-Family Residential or Institutional to Industrial Green.

The properties are owned by Fireline, which manufactures ceramic products for industrial purposes, said Mark Peters, director of engineering. The 50-year-old company, which has operated on Andrews Avenue since 1985, is adding 26,000 square feet to its plant this year as the first phase of a 15-to-20-year plan to add a total of 76,000 square feet.

“We’re a Tier 3 aerospace supplier and the aerospace market is doing very well,” Peters said. “Because of the projected growth of the market, we need to add to our facilities to support our customers.”

Council will consider a water/wastewater grant of up to $350,000, the sale for $10 of property on Oak Street that will be used for parking, primarily during construction of the expansion, and a 10-year, 75% abatement of real property taxes for the project.

“We have considerable stormwater costs associated with this project,” Peters noted. “To build as big a facility as possible — to support our customers and provide jobs — the support from the city is extremely helpful.”

The company has pledged to add 21 jobs. If council approves the incentives and zone change, it plans to break ground in April and move into the new space during the fourth quarter, Peters said.

“We really appreciate the support from the city as well as the state of Ohio. Without their support, this project would be difficult to proceed with on the timeline we want,” he continued.

During the planning commission meeting, architect Ron Faniro offered assurances that there is no intent to encroach on the neighborhood’s Oak Baptist Church, a concern raised by its pastor, Sylvia Jennings.

“We don’t want our spiritual roots moved,” Jennings said.

All the development is at the north end of the site and a landscape buffer will separate the parking lot from the church, Faniro assured.

Also on council’s agenda tonight is a resolution in support of the proposed Mahoning Valley Innovation & Commercialization Center to be built in Smoky Hollow near Youngstown State University. The “educational and entrepreneurial hub” will house $10 million in advanced manufacturing equipment, including 3-D printers, numerically controlled milling machines, robotics, advanced electronics, welding and other assets, according to the resolution.

Partners include YSU, Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition, Eastern Gateway Community College, area career and technical centers, other educational providers and business incubators.

Several possible sites have been identified, said Jessica Borza, MVMC executive director.

“We’re hoping to firm up a location within the next quarter,” she said. “We’re eager to move forward but much will depend on locking in the site. We anticipate moving quickly after that.”

Partners have secured $3 million in state capital funds and other grants are pending, including an application to the Appalachian Regional Commission.

“We will be applying for various other state and federal grants, and YSU has made this a philanthropic priority,” Borza said.

Pictured: Mark Peters, director of engineering for Fireline, presented his company’s expansion plans Tuesday to the Youngstown Planning Commission.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.