Lordstown Council OKs Power Plant Incentives

LORDSTOWN, Ohio – An $800 million project whose future was uncertain a year ago is almost a done deal, officials say. At a special meeting last night, Lordstown Village Council unanimously voted to approve an incentive package for Clean Energy Future LLC to build a natural gas fueled electricity plant here.

“This project is a long time coming,” Mayor Arno Hill told the audience before the vote.

Clean Energy Future, based in Boston, has selected a site on Henn Parkway in the Lordstown Industrial Park.

The incentive package approved by Village Council includes a 100%, 15-year tax abatement on all real and personal property. It requires Clean Energy Future to pay the Lordstown School District $500,000 when the company breaks ground, plus two more annual payments of the same amount. Once the plant is up and running, the school district will receive a $1 million annual payment for the first five years, $1.25 million the second five years and $1.5 million the third five years.

Last June the village planning commission vetoed a zoning change that would have allowed the Clean Energy Future to build on a 57-acre site on Salt Springs Road.

“Once the original site got voted down, we had to figure out where we could site it, where it was zoned correctly, and still get access to the correct electrical lines,” says Hill.

The electricity plant would be capable of generating 800 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 500,000 households.

“Originally I was against where the facility was going to be located because it would change the complexion of the community,” says Ron Krisher, a resident of the village.

Now that the proposed site is in the Lordstown Industrial Park, he says he and the rest of the community are fully on board.

“I believe the vast majority of the people who wanted to stop this facility were worried about the location,” he says.

The incentive package now goes before the Trumbull County Board of Commissioners, which will meet June 3. “We have a public hearing at 10 a.m. and then the commissioners meeting will follow,” says Commissioner Frank Fuda.

“Two of us are on board today and I’m sure Dan Polivka will be also,” he adds.

Once construction begins, which Hill says could be as soon as October, the project is expected to create up to 450 construction jobs over a three-year period.

“Right now the trades are at a little bit of a standstill now that Vallourec Star is built,” says Fuda. “This is going to be great news for them.”

The plant is expected to employ 26 full-time, with an annual payroll of about $3.4 million.

Now that the Clean Energy Future project is moving forward, Hill says he can devote more of his attention to the project known as the Lordstown Logistics Center, an industrial park that, if built, would house suppliers to GM’s Lordstown complex.

“We’re still waiting on some paperwork for that one. But if that comes forward, I’ve already told the school, ‘I may be knocking on your door again for some information.’ “

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