Steubenville gets $1 million to clean RG Steel plant

STEUBENVILLE – The Ohio Office of Budget and Management Controlling Board this week approved the release of $1 million in Clean Ohio Assistance funds for the demolition of two blast furnaces, a boiler house and an annealing building at the former RG Steel Steubenville plant.

The funds also will be used for asbestos abatement at those structures.

The release of capital funds was announced Monday afternoon by state Rep. Jack Cera, D-Bellaire.

“Hopefully we will see new economic opportunities in that area. It is a brownfield site but now we can see other uses for the property,” Cera said.

According to Cera, “River Rail Development, a subsidiary of Strauss Industries, is set to redevelop the site with a $15 million investment as an industrial park,” creating 50 new jobs in the process. The industrial park will support the needs of metal recycling and shale gas operations.

Urban Projects Director Chris Petrossi called the Clean Ohio Assistance Fund “definitely good news because big plans are in place for that 130-acre site.”

Petrossi said the property will be redeveloped with a multimodal transfer and processing facility to support mid stream shale gas operations.

“The facility should be under construction this summer and operational by the fourth quarter of 2014,” Petrossi said.

“This is a huge site with lots of economic development potential. It has two railroad lines, the highway and access to the Ohio River. This $1 million investment will help get the site ready for development. The Jefferson County Regional Planning Commission did a lot of work on the asbestos remediation study that made this possible. And River Rail Development has made a substantial investment in the property and has plans for the future that will benefit the city,” Petrossi said.

“Redevelopment of the overall River Rail property is expected to generate approximately 50 new jobs. Additional jobs are expected as the property is redeveloped and leased. Property redevelopment is also expected to generate income and property tax benefits for the city as well,” Petrossi said.

Gossett is a staff writer for the Herald-Star in Steubenville.

“The River Rail Development Corp. has already spent $1.2 million for environmental studies and remediation. They plan to clean up the site and prepare it for future development.

”This is an excellent use for the brownfield grant. We may look at future grants for the site. The funds were applied for by the city but there is no expense to the city to apply for this grant,” Petrossi said.

Gossett is a staff writer for the Herald-Star in Steubenville.