Economic Development

Wellsville Intermodal Seeks $1.9M for Expansion

EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio – The Columbiana County Port Authority’s Intermodal Facility in Wellsville is one of 13 regional projects the Port of Pittsburgh Commission submitted for funding in an application for an INFRA grant in 2018.

INFRA is the acronym for Infrastructure for Rebuilding America.

“We decided to join forces with the Port of Pittsburgh due to the increase in activity of the oil and gas industry,” Penny Traina, executive director of the Port Authority, told board members Monday at their monthly meeting. “The intermodal facility is already operating in full capacity. So, as the economy continues to grow and shift, we wanted to be ready to meet our customers’ needs.”

Under a contract with the port authority, Pier 48 Stevedoring LLC, handles marine operations at the intermodal park. Should the grant be approved, it would enable expansion to move oversized and heavy weight shipments via rail, truck and barge.

A concrete dock would be added next to the 60-ton bridge crane, Mantsinen 120 HybriLift material handler and Imperial Conveyor. The dock would be placed atop two sunken jumbo barges, with a concrete ramp and a floodwall added.

“This would allow us to offload heavy equipment,” Traina said.

Cost of the project is projected to be $1,937,500. Of that, 60% would come from federal funds in the grant, 40% from the port authority’s application for a grant to the Appalachian Regional Commission, assistance from the Columbiana County Transportation Improvement District, a loan from the State Infrastructure Bank and private contributions.

“Reaching out to our regional partners is what it’s going to take for all of us to be successful,” Traina said of the part authority’s collaboration with the Port of Pittsburgh.

The port will learn next year if the application is approved. If so, work can begin within 18 months of final approval of permits.

The INFRA program expects to distribute more than $1.5 billion in grants in 2018 to projects across the United States.

In other matters, the board approved the preliminary 2018 budget of $1,474,257. One large expense for the upcoming year is $200,000 for maintenance repairs of the roof at Leetonia Industrial Park, 600 Cherry Fork Ave.

With the approval of the preliminary budget, the port authority manager for administration and finance, Diane Ksiazek, gave a brief demonstration of the Uniform Accounting Network (UAN) system that the port authority will begin using in 2018. UAN is a financial software package created by the Ohio auditor’s office to support accounting, payroll, budget and inventory activities of local governments.

Some of the benefits of the new software are ensuring the port authority is in compliance with federal and county standards, as well as eliminating the need of a third party to prepare financial statements for the port authority, which will save thousands of dollars a year, Ksiazek said.

The port authority board approved a Project Application for Economic Development Financing Incentives for projects going forward. “If we get contacted for a project, this is the application someone would come in and fill out with the port authority for economic development financing incentives,” Traina said. “The next step would be a fee-letter and the fee would be determined by the size of the project.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.