By EMMALEE C. TORISK
Neither Campbell Mayor William J. VanSuch nor Struthers Mayor Terry Stocker had any idea they’d still be waiting today on a project approved for funding more than a year and a half ago.
“I just hope it gets done,” Stocker said.
He’s referring to a brownfields lighting project that stretches along Bob Cene Way in Struthers, across the almost 4-year-old lower connector bridge that joins the cities, and along Casey Drive in Campbell. The project involves the installation of 15 streetlights there — nine in Campbell and six in Struthers.
The cities discovered they had been selected to receive the state transportation enhancement grant in January 2013, and had hoped to complete the project by the year’s end. Bids opened Oct. 4, with the lowest bidder being the Salem-based Cornerstone Electric Inc.
Of the approximately $157,000 cost, the state paid 80 percent, while the two cities split and absorbed the remaining 20 percent. The project was meant to be just another example of ongoing efforts to rehabilitate the brownfields area and to attract new businesses. It also was intended to increase visibility, making the area safer for the public and for emergency vehicles.
Work didn’t begin until July 14, however.
Engineer Dave Benedetto, of GPD Group, said that since then, a great deal of work has been done. The pole foundations are in place, for example. So are the pull boxes, conduits and cables.
The only hold-up? The actual poles.
VanSuch and Stocker explained that the poles are made by only two companies approved by the Ohio Department of Transportation. The use of federal funding requires the use of American-made products, but the companies are, simply, “backlogged,” Stocker said.
Benedetto said the poles are supposed to be delivered to the construction site near the 60-acre Casey Industrial Park within the next three weeks. The industrial park is home to six companies: Casey Equipment, Magnetic Lifting Technologies, Quality Bar, Munroe Inc., CMC Impact Metals and Allegheny Heat Treat.
The installation of the 30-foot-tall, breakaway poles, which are specially designed to break when struck by a vehicle, should take just a couple of days, he added. Some other miscellaneous work needs to be done, as well.
VanSuch said the cities aren’t in jeopardy of losing funding for the project. Still, he noted, both Campbell and Struthers “are very thirsty for revenues” — such as those from businesses that might take up residence at the industrial park after the lighting project’s completion.
“We want to make it more inviting for different types of business to come down here,” VanSuch said. “Our main concern is getting employment for our residents.”