Lordstown persistence deserves praise

Despite obstacles and delays, leaders in Lordstown should be praised for their persistence in landing a new power plant that will mean about an $800 million investment in the community.

Village council on Tuesday voted unanimously to enter into an enterprise zone agreement with Clean Energy Future-Lordstown LLC, a natural gas-fired power plant. The deal will give the company a 100 percent tax abatement over the next 15 years, but only with terms that the village’s school district collect significant funding beginning with construction.

That is $500,000 a year during construction; $1 million a year for the first five years of operation; $1.25 million a year for years six through 10; and $1.5 million a year for the last five years of the 15-year agreement.

The village also will be looking at collecting 1 percent income tax on the earnings of about 450 building trades workers who will construct the facility, and then the 26 full-time workers who eventually will be employed at the plant.

After 15 years, it’s hard to fathom that this massive investment won’t still be here, producing income for the village and a couple dozen jobs for workers, not to mention much-needed new clean energy to supply the growing demand on the power grid that also has been consistently losing generation stations due to the shutdown of many coal-fired power plants.

It all seems like a no-brainer.

After the village’s planning commission more than a year ago recommended against a zone change on a 57-acre improperly zoned Salt Springs Road site that had been under consideration by the company, Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill went back to the drawing board, vowing to find another more workable location.

That persistence and due diligence paid off. Now, not only will Lordstown will reap the benefits, but so too will all northeast Ohio electricity users who ultimately will take advantage of the power that will be generated at the massive, high-tech plant.