Hrezo resigns as county port authority manager

WINTERSVILLE – Jefferson County Port Authority Manager Donna Hrezo announced Tuesday she will resign next month to accept a job with the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth office of Ohio.

The port authority board of directors scheduled a special meeting at 8 a.m. July 10 to discuss a job description and plans to advertise for the job handled by Hrezo since the authority was created nearly two years ago.

“It was a very sad day for me when Donna told me she had been recruited for a project manager’s job at APEG. It has been awesome to work with someone like Donna. OhioJobs, which is the parent agency for APEG, has a practice of finding the best employees and recruiting them,” explained authority Economic Executive Director Evan Scurti.

“I want to thank Evan and the board of directors as well as the county commissioners and the city of Steubenville. I will definitely stay in touch because I will be working in the region. This organization has grown since it was created and I am proud to have been a part of the Authority,” replied Hrezo.

“You can prepare a job description and we can review it,” board member Jay Zatta told Scurti.

And, board member Mark Teramana suggested hiring an authority manager before Hrezo leaves will allow for a transition period.

In other business during the monthly meeting Tuesday, the board members and two Jefferson County commissioners attending the meeting expressed concerns regarding a Cleveland-based company that was given a six-month extension to build a facility in the Jefferson County Industrial Park.

“We have seen one set of plans but have not seen a groundbreaking yet. That six-month extension runs out in August and I think we should tell the company they will not receive another extension if we don’t see progress,” noted board member Greg Nemeth.

Commissioner Dave Maple said the Authority could have been marketing the property in the industrial park and said it may be time to move on if progress is not seen soon.

The board of directors authorized Scurti to proceed with a wetlands delineation study in the industrial park.

“That will be a very important first step to get the site ready for marketing,” noted Scurti.

He said he will advertise for a request for qualifications before proceeding with the study.

Scurti also reported he would like to organize a workshop for potential developers later this year.

And board member Debbie Venci reported fundraising efforts are continuing.

“We are preparing a list of former sponsors of economic development in Jefferson County and will reach out to them to consider supporting the port authority,” said Venci.

Steubenville 3rd Ward Councilman Greg Metcalf told the authority directors he is waiting for City Manager Tim Boland to scheduled a council economic development committee meeting to discuss options for city-owned property in the South End.

“I will touch base with Tim Boland about sending a letter to the Steubenville City School District and the Indian Creek Local School District regarding the possibility of creating a a tax abatement zone in the city to attract new business. I would think the school districts would want to sit down to ask questions,” said Metcalf.

Scurti said if City Council approves a tax abatement zone the issue also would need to be approved by the county commissioners.