CCPA Seeks Grant for Industrial Park Improvements

LISBON, Ohio — The Columbiana County Port Authority board of directors took steps Monday to secure grant funding for improvements to the port authority’s industrial building in Leetonia, which would benefit businesses utilizing the structure.

A resolution passed by the board authorized Executive Director Penny Traina to submit an application for $77,000 in grant funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and/or Governor’s Office of Appalachia (GOA) for energy-efficient upgrades totaling $141,000.

The port authority is responsible for a 50% matching share of the project, which is available through other grants, loans and local funds.

“Our industrial building located at 600 Cherry Fork in Leetonia is in desperate need of lighting and HVAC updates,” Traina told board members at the monthly meeting.

She says there are currently three tenants in the building, and each of the businesses is billed monthly for utilities, which Traina admitted are “quite high.”

With the funding in place, the project would involve replacement of 210 lights throughout the building with energy-efficient LED lights and the replacement or updating of 12 HVAC units with more energy-efficient units.

Replacing the existing HVAC and lighting systems will allow current tenants to see drastically lowered utility bills, potentially allowing them to invest more revenue into their businesses and possibly expand, while also attracting new businesses to the industrial park, Traina said.

The port authority is working with Sodexo | Roth, Youngstown, to apply for rebates to help offset the cost of the LED lighting, Traina added.

With member Keith Chamberlin absent, the board voted unanimously for the resolution.

The board also voted in favor of a resolution Traina deemed a “housekeeping item,” executing a quit claim deed to Youngstown and Southeastern Railroad Co. for a 7.79-acre parcel located in Negley. The port authority will retain all mineral rights and royalties on the property.

According to port authority legal counsel, attorney Timothy Brookes, the entire railroad in three counties – Mahoning, Columbiana and Beaver County, Pa. – was sold in 2013 to Mark West except for this parcel, where environmental tests were being conducted, and transfer was delayed until the testing was complete.

No issues were found and no remediation needed, said Brookes, who advised the board upon presenting the resolution, “There is no longer a need to delay. We’re out of the railroad business, folks.”

Traina provided the board with an overview of the port authority’s 2019 Annual Report, which will be placed on the website for public view.

She noted that a major focus in 2020 will be securing more grants for economic development purposes throughout the county.

Traina also reported that the consortium will be hosting a public officials orientation and update meeting March 5, where the agenda will include an explanation of the role of the port authority, Development Department, Land Bank, GIS and Fair Housing as well as vetting potential projects for their entities. As of Monday, Traina said, 25 RSVPs had been received from interested officials.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.