Pilot Flying J Center will be built at old W-P site off Route 7 in Steubenville

Pilot Flying J plans to build a new fuel and travel center this year on 4 acres near the former entrance to the former Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Steubenville Plant entrance. — Dave Gossett

STEUBENVILLE — Pilot Flying J, a national fuel and service center chain, unveiled plans Monday night to build a travel center on a 4-acre site on state Route 7 at the south entrance to the city.

Brad Alsup, a project manager with the corporation, shared plans and information with the planning and zoning commission during his rezoning application.

“We are planning to build a travel center that will be a little smaller than you see on the interstate highways. We will provide fuel and services to the public and professional drivers,” said Alsup.

The travel center will be located at the state Route 7 entrance to the former steel mill property.

“We will start construction at the property as soon as all of the paperwork is approved, probably in mid May or early June. We have a contract to purchase the property from River Rail Intermodal Terminal,” continued Alsup.

He noted approximately 20 people will be employed at the travel center.

The planning commission members accepted the rezoning application and will request that City Council introduce legislation at tonight’s meeting. A public hearing on the rezoning request has been set for April 3.

According to John McDonald of River Rail, “this is a great thing for Steubenville.”

River Rail bought the former Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp. Steubenville plant in 2012.

“We started with two employees and now have 50 people working at our site. We have been working on this project with Pilot Flying J for the past two years. We are very pleased with this project,” noted McDonald.

According to the Pilot Flying J website, the combined network of more than 650 Pilot and Flying J Travel Centers across North America serves more than 1.3 million guests daily.

In other business Monday night, the commission unanimously approved a positive recommendation for conservation district status for the Homewood Avenue neighborhood. The final decision will be made by City Council tonight.

And the commission heard requests for neighborhood conservation designation from residents in the 2600, 2700, 2800 and 2900 blocks of Whitehaven Boulevard and Devonshire Road as well as from Crestline Drive and Central Avenue residents.

City Council is expected to introduce legislation for the two conservation districts at tonight’s meeting.

A public hearing on the requests will be held at the April 3 meeting.

Urban Projects Director Chris Petrossi reported two remaining buildings from the 96-structure demolition list are scheduled to be demolished in the next two weeks.

Commission members approved a contract with the Ohio Regional Development Corp. of Coshocton to serve as a consultant for the city’s Community Housing Improvement Program.

(Gossett can be contacted at dgossett@heraldstaronline.com.)