State to Help East Palestine Fund Emergency Response Equipment

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio – New village Administrator Chad M. Edwards has been in town less than a month and is still meeting many East Palestine employees and residents, but he already met with Gov. Mike DeWine during his most recent visit Friday.

“We’re very grateful for the governor for his assistance,” said Edwards, “and as a new village manager I am looking forward to working with him throughout the rest of his term as governor.”

Coming to the village from Shinnston, West Virginia, Edwards said he is ready for the challenge of helping to rebuild East Palestine after the derailment, and even make it better. He sees the assistance of DeWine and others who have brought grant dollars to town as part of the process of bringing back business and residents.

Chad M. Edwards

“The money that the governor so generously awarded us will help us in the future with development and our plans for rebuilding and creating an even better community,” Edwards said.

DeWine has been a regular visitor since the Feb. 3 train derailment and was back in town to announce $150,000 to help support the purchase of new emergency response equipment for the village.

Previously, federal funding was granted to partially cover the cost of two 8-ton dump trucks, a 1-ton utility bed truck and a drone. Through the Governor’s Office of Appalachia, the $150,000 will cover more than 65% of the required local match according to DeWine and Ohio Department of Development Director Lydia Mihalik.

The existing village trucks are more than 20 years old and were used to haul materials and supplies around the derailment site. The East Palestine Fire Department used drone footage from equipment owned by Columbiana County Commissioner Tim Weigle to help provide overhead overviews while responding to the derailment.

“This funding is another example of our administration’s continued commitment to the East Palestine community,” DeWine said in a released statement. “This investment will significantly reduce East Palestine’s share of expenses associated with this new equipment.”

Mihalik said the derailment points to the urgent need for communities like East Palestine to be prepared.

“While we hope that nothing like this ever happens in any of our communities again, the residents of East Palestine can have some peace of mind knowing the village is better equipped to assess and respond in emergency situations,” she said.

DeWine also announced Friday that the first round of 0% interest, forgivable loans through the East Palestine Emergency Support Program will be announced as early as next week. Eligible businesses can still apply HERE for funding to assist with the ongoing expenses and recovery efforts associated with the train derailment.

DeWine’s visit included a stop at the East Palestine Memorial Public Library to talk to community members and a visit to East Palestine High School to hear from the Science Club, followed by a rainy derailment site update with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and a visit to the water treatment plant.

Pictured at top: Gov. Mike DeWine, first lady Fran DeWine and members of the Ohio EPA at the site of the train derailment in East Palestine.

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