The long-range goal is to make Youngstown the nation's recycling capital.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Mahoning County commissioners have committed to the concept of building a national recycling training center here that could prepare workers for jobs in the industry and potentially establish the Mahoning Valley as the nation's recycling capital.
The catalysts behind the center are the Coalition of City Council Presidents, which is composed of Robert Carcelli, Struthers; Bob Yankle, Campbell; and James E. Fortune Sr., Youngstown.
Carcelli reviewed the concept with commissioners at their meeting Thursday.
The training center could be the key to revitalizing the Mahoning Valley, both by training potential workers and collecting fees for handling recyclables, he said. Based on the coalition's research, some of jobs at the center could pay between $18 and $25 per hour.
"The center would train people in all phases of processing recycled material, and locating a recovery center here will generate tipping fees from haulers who bring that material here," Carcelli said.
While still in the conceptual stages, Carcelli said the COCCP's goal is to first send all of Ohio's scrap tires and recyclable materials here and eventually all of the nation's recyclables.
Spinoff industries that develop from the center also will help bring more jobs to the Valley, he said. The council presidents say they hope to locate the proposed recycling training center in the Mahoning River corridor that runs through the three cities along Poland Avenue.
The group met with the Ohio Board of Regents last week, who expressed interest in the proposal. Carcelli said the Ohio Department of Development also has been notified because it is in charge of providing funds to redevelop brownfield space.
"This project would qualify because it will sit in a brownfield area," Carcelli said. "The center would create good-paying jobs for folks in the Valley and spur economic development."
Carcelli said the Ohio Department of Natural Resources is interested in the proposal, and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, also suggested the council presidents bring in the expertise of three universities -- Youngstown State, Kent State and Akron. YSU sent a letter to the COCCP this week saying its wants to offer its support.
Carcelli said he is definitely behind making the center a regional project, and he will ask commissioners from Trumbull and Columbiana counties and their recycling divisions to come on board.
Commissioner Anthony Traficanti said bringing jobs to the Valley and helping improve the environment is a "win-win" situation.
The coalition said it hopes to piggy back off of recently announced plans by RRI of Ohio, a minority-owned business, to open a tire-shredding and recycling facility in March in Youngstown.
Triad Chemicals of Mentor has sent a letter to the COCCP indicating an interest in providing the training. Triad could teach potential technicians how to salvage chemical compounds from shredded tires that could be used to produce products for other industries.
In other business:
UCommissioners said goodbye to its longtime office manager Gail Brown, who is retiring Jan. 31 after working in the commissioners' office for 23 years.
UCommissioners accepted the resignation of Constance E. Pierce as human resources director. Pierce worked for nearly six years for the county. Commissioner John McNally IV said her position is critical and applications are being accepted for her replacement.
UThe board appointed Jeff Uroseva as the county's chief building official. He has worked for the county for eight years and had been serving as interim chief. His salary will stay at about $58,000.