Columbiana Port Authority Offers Help with Grant Writing

LISBON, Ohio — After realizing success in securing grants which have resulted in the completion of many private and public projects, the Columbiana County Port Authority is now offering grant writing services to other entities.

Executive Director Penny Traina announced during Monday’s board of directors meeting that the Port has secured more than $4 million in grant funding during the past three years. Those grants have assisted local governments and private businesses in completing more than $8 million in projects, including infrastructure improvements, workforce development, workforce creation, recreational infrastructure, energy upgrades, equipment purchases and warehouse buildings, she said.

“The Columbiana County Port Authority has experienced a very high success/award rate when applying for funding. With our continued growth and increased knowledge of funding opportunities, we expect this to continue,” Traina told the board.

With the Port Authority’s assistance, the county’s overall economy has improved, she added. “Truly, a rising tide lifts all boats.”

With that in mind, Traina announced the Port Authority is committed to helping any government or private business needing assistance in securing grant funding. The services will be provided in-house by Port Authority staff who will search for grants that meet the entity’s needs and assist in preparing the application.

Any fees will be affordable, and when possible, contingent upon successful funding, Traina said. She encouraged any government body or private business interested in this service to contact the Port Authority at 330-424-1800, extension 2.

Despite the economic impact of the COVID pandemic, Traina said 2020 was the busiest year she can recall during her tenure, saying the Port Authority “definitely made an impact on economic development in the county.”

The annual report for 2020 presented to the board Monday outlined various grants awarded to the Port Authority, including Community Development Block Grant Formula Allocation grants totaling $781,000 across 10 projects in Wellsville, East Liverpool, Leetonia, Salem, Columbiana and Lisbon that involve street improvements, a pocket park and water and sewer projects.

Also reported was the Port Authority’s assistance to Wellsville in receiving $334,800 in critical infrastructure grant funding toward a street improvement project totaling more than $600,000.

The Port Authority administered a $200,000 Governor’s Office of Appalachia Regional Job Training grant to benefit Compco Industries for a training center for new and future employees. It was awarded a $77,000 Appalachian Regional Council grant for energy efficient improvements to its industrial park in Leetonia, and it applied for three Maritime Assistance Program grants – a new source of grant funding – and was awarded more than $1.7 million to assist three Ohio River businesses.

Not resting on its laurels, the Port Authority’s staff has started 2021 by applying for FY 2022 Community Project Funding through the office of U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-6 Ohio, for two projects.

The Port Authority submitted an application for $850,000 for updating, renovating and repairing the existing building in the Cherry Fork park in Leetonia to transform it into a Global Investment Hub. The hub’s purpose would be to attract local, regional and foreign companies to invest in the county, especially the 3D printing and petrochemical clusters.

Total cost of the project is $1.4 million, with $400,000 already received from the state capital budget and $77,000 from the Governor’s Office of Appalachia, as well as matching funds from the Port Authority.

Also submitted was an application for $2,732,930 in Community Project Funding as part of a collaborative effort between the Port and city of Columbiana to develop an industrial park inside the city.

The total cost of the project, which includes land acquisition, site work, utilities, engineering and streets, is $3,732,930, with $1 million in commitment funds: $500,000 from the Port Authority and $500,000 from Columbiana.

The board took action Monday on a resolution authorizing the board to prepare and execute all documents regarding the Maritime Assistant Grants already awarded to the Port which will enable the Parsons Terminal Co. to purchase equipment with $425,000; the S.H. Bell Co. to extend a dock with $1,005,695; and the Wellsville Terminal to purchase equipment and complete a dry storage warehouse with $300,000. The grant amounts represent 50 percent of each project’s cost, with each company responsible for the remaining cost.
Also passed by the board were resolutions awarding bids for purchase of equipment with the MAP grant funding.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.