Owners say the improvements will result in a superior grade of concrete.
By CYNTHIA VINARSKY
VINDICATOR BUSINESS WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- A concrete company that opened five years ago on the site of Youngstown Sheet & amp; Tube's old Brier Hill Works was unveiling $2.5 million worth of production and environmental improvements at an open house today.
Owners of City Concrete said they spent a half-million dollars cleaning up the 25-acre former mill site on Old Division Street before building their first concrete production plant when they opened in 1999.
Now the company has added a second plant with a twin-shaft mixer, where cement powder, sand, limestone and water are pre-mixed before being trucked away.
The process, the latest technology in the concrete industry according to company president John Annichenni, achieves a more homogeneous concrete blend than is possible when the elements are blended the usual way in a cement-mixer truck.
City Concrete also added a new railroad yard where workers will take shipments of white limestone, a basic element in concrete, mined in western Ohio.
Limestone mined in the western part of the state is superior to the stone available locally, Annichenni explained, because it is free of shale. Shale in concrete can cause a problem called "pop-outs" in which holes form on the surface over time, he said, so shale-free limestone produces a better quality concrete.
"It's all about quality and service for our customers," Annichenni said. "We feel we now offer the best concrete out there."
The owners have organized a sister company, City Stone L.L.C., which will sell the white aggregate limestone on a retail and wholesale basis for driveways, landscaping and other uses. City Stone also is based at the Old Division Street location.
The company is working with the Ohio Central System railroad to transport the limestone.
City Concrete received a 10-year, 75-percent tax abatement from the city of Youngstown in 2002 as an incentive for the improvements and the resulting work force expansion.
Annichenni said the company employs about 35 -- officials promised, when the abatement was granted, to bring the work force to 27 by the time the project was complete.
The company has the contract to supply concrete for both phases of the 711 Connector highway project, and officials expect their plant improvements to bring in more infrastructure business. With the twin-shaft mixer, they explained, all the cement used for the project can be mixed uniformly, then transported in dump trucks.
They're also hoping to land a larger share of the Mahoning Valley's residential construction business.
Annichenni said he was in the industrial dismantling and excavation business in the 1990s and became aware of the Brier Hill Works site while working there on the mill demolition. Once an employer of thousands, the steel mill had been idle since September 1977.
He formed a partnership with a friend, Mark Carrocce, and other members of the Carrocce family who own and operate R & amp; J Trucking, a bulk commodity hauler based in Boardman. Mark and his uncle, Gary Carrocce, are vice presidents of City Concrete; Mark's father, Ron, and his brother Troy are also partners.