June 9 scheduled for breaking ground for Pietro Fiorentini
WEIRTON –A project years in the making is set to break ground.
On Tuesday, officials with the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle and the City of Weirton announced a groundbreaking will be held at 10 a.m., June 9 for the new Pietro Fiorentini manufacturing facility set to locate in the city.
A ceremony is planned at the site planned for the facility, to be located in the Three Springs Business Park.
“We want to invite the public and all of the officials from across the valley,” Mayor Harold Miller said during a gathering in the council chambers of the Weirton Municipal Building.
An agreement with the Italian firm, which is involved in the production of pressure regulators, valves and meter systems for the natural gas industry, was finalized in January, although discussions had been ongoing for approximately four years.
The facility will be constructed on 26.4 acres in the Three Springs Business Park, with an initial 41 jobs and plans for up to 150 employees once fully operational. Plans have called for the site to open sometime in 2018.
This will be the first permanent manufacturing facility for Pietro Fiorentini to be located in the United States. The company already has had sales and distribution operations located in the country.
BDC Executive Director Pat Ford and Board Chair Bill D’Alesio took time Tuesday to express their appreciation to city officials for helping to finalize the deal to bring Pietro Fiorentini to Weirton.
“It’s not as simple as writing a check,” Ford said.
As part of the agreement, road improvements have to be made leading to the site of the new facility, Ford said.
City officials agreed to expend $150,000 for an engineering study and design for the new road, as well as to apply for state grant funding for its construction.
Ford noted assistance from the city in streamlining the permitting process and assistance with utilities also was beneficial.
Miller said, upon becoming mayor he had learned the option on the property was close to expiring, and he felt the city could find a way to assist with bringing the project together.
“We knew we had TIF money we hadn’t tapped,” Miller explained, noting the tax increment financing funds could be used for infrastructure improvements to the business park area.
City Manager Travis Blosser said it was important to city officials to be able to find more ways to step up and assist with development efforts.
“A partnership is a two-way street,” Blosser said of the city’s work with the BDC in the last several months.
D’Alesio agreed, saying when businesses look at locating in a community, it is important there are clear channels of communication among all parties involved.
The officials noted Pietro Fiorentini is among approximately $30 million in investments being made to Weirton this year, with $15 million of that in manufacturing.
Other projects, including restaurants and retail locations, are expected to be announced in the near future, according to city officials.
They said these announcements show there is a market for business growth in the Weirton area.
“The good announcements are here to stay,” Blosser said.
(Howell can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)