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YOUNGSTOWN New owner is dismantling LTV mill



Published: Sun, February 9, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



A Pittsburgh company said it's considering opening a shop to rebuild equipment from other plants.

By DON SHILLING

VINDICATOR BUSINESS EDITOR

YOUNGSTOWN -- A new owner is dismantling a closed pipe mill that LTV had tried to sell for 16 years.

Sherman International, a Pittsburgh equipment dealer, bought the Wilson Avenue mill during LTV's bankruptcy proceedings last year.

Girish Soni, Sherman senior executive, said he is overseeing a crew of 25, which is taking apart the equipment, which will be sold. Dismantling will take a little more than a year, he said.

Sherman is considering its options for the building once the equipment is gone, including operating a warehouse and a shop for rebuilding machinery, Soni said.

Hopes for site

Bill DeCicco, executive director of the Castlo Community Improvement Corp. in Struthers, said he hopes Sherman will put the building to use or demolish it and turn the 127-acre site over to a local governmental agency. A small part of the land is in Campbell, but most is in Youngstown.

DeCicco is part of a group trying to redevelop industrial sites along the Mahoning River, which used to employ 20,000 people when the steel mills were operating.

The group's master plan has two options for the LTV site, with the preferred one being demolition of the mill and construction of a new road for new industrial buildings. The other option includes working around the existing building.

Soni met with development officials Wednesday and explained the company's plans to dismantle the mill, which seemed to end years of hope that the mill would be restarted, DeCicco said.

Those involved with previous purchase attempts said LTV spent $60 million to upgrade the mill in 1983 before closing it in 1986. LTV didn't move the equipment, but instead had hoped a buyer could be found to operate the mill.

Interested groups

Two groups expressed interest in reopening the mill recently, including a Hong Kong-based company that worked on a purchase agreement and state tax incentives in 1999 but later backed away.

Jim Burgham, secretary-treasurer of Western Reserve Building and Construction Trades, said the union is planning a press conference next week to highlight union concerns about Sherman's activities.

He said the union wasn't given an opportunity to bid on the dismantling work and he thinks crews are from out-of-state.

Soni said, however, that 85 percent of the workers on the job are local.

Burgham said the union is worried that Sherman's work will stir up contamination on the site. Soni said the work meets government regulations.

Kara Allison, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, said no permits would be needed to dismantle equipment. A company has to document hazardous materials if permanently closing a plant and might need permits for a new type of business, she said.

shilling@vindy.com




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