COLUMBIANA COUNTY Port authority gets funds for new dock

To make the project more financially manageable, it's being split into phases.
WELLSVILLE -- Even with $1 million funding in hand, the Columbiana County Port Authority is still short of the $11 million it needs to build a barge dock and container transport facility on the banks of the Ohio River.
But Tracy Drake, port authority director, said he's confident the remainder of the funding will fall into place.
"I think we can get it," Drake said.
Three phases: To make its task more manageable, the port authority is breaking the project into three phases, the first of which will cost about $2.5 million.
The $1 million in federal funding that became available for the project last week will help fund the undertaking's first phase, which is construction of the dock itself, Drake explained.
The port authority is seeking the remainder of the $2.5 million from state and federal sources.
Drake said he's hopeful that the funding will become available in the next several months, allowing dock construction to start in the spring and be finished by the end of 2002.
In mid-October, the port authority received the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' approval to install the dock facility on the bank of the Ohio River adjacent to the Wellsville Industrial Park.
The park is off state Route 7 on the village's south side.
Conveyor system: Phase two of the project will cost about $4 million and will entail installing a conveyor system to handle bulk cargo that will be unloaded from barges.
Phase three will cost $4.5 million and calls for putting in a crane system to transfer cargo containers from barges to trucks and trains for further shipment. Also part of phase three is building an open-air cargo storage facility near the dock site.
More state and federal funding will be sought for phases two and three. If all goes well, the entire project could be done in spring 2005, Drake said.
Once fully operational, the facility could handle nearly four million tons of cargo per year, which, by dock standards, is considered a large amount, Drake said.
When it's finished, the facility could employ several dozen people who will earn $10 to $15 an hour.
The new dock facility also will produce spin-off jobs in trucking, cargo handling and support services, Drake added.
The port authority will own the enterprise and will contract with a private operator to run it.

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