Loan to allow for new port authority facility

Staff report


The state Controlling Board released nearly $4.4 million in low-interest loan funds Monday for a new facility in Columbiana County that will allow limestone to be transferred from railway cars to barges on the Ohio River.

The Columbiana County Port Authority is heading the bulk-material-handling system in Wellsville and has committed to creating nine full-time jobs paying hourly wages of $20, plus the equivalent of seven other jobs through construction activities.

The new project would add to the 70-acre riverfront facility that accommodates truck, railroad and barge activities. The new conveyor system would handle about 1,500 tons of crushed limestone per hour, according to documents.

“Shipments will originate in Michigan and move by ship on Lake Erie to Ashtabula or Cleveland,” according to documents. “Once in Ohio, the limestone will be loaded onto the Norfolk Southern Railway for delivery to Wellsville.”

The limestone is used by electric utilities for air- pollution control.

The new system will cost more than $5.8 million, with an operating company, C&E Coal Inc., covering the balance.

The state loan was approved by the Ohio Development Financing Advisory Council in December.

Tracy Drake, the chief executive officer of the Columbiana County Port Authority, said the project “is essentially a bulk handing system.” He said the authority wants to get the system moving as quickly as possible.

The port has road, rail and water access.

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