WEIRTON - The Weirton Area Port Authority signed off Thursday on designating Kokosing Construction for port development projects, but only after being assured local workers and subcontractors would be used whenever it makes sense.
Board members Santo Santoro and Mark Glyptis said local jobs and local companies need to benefit from any growth opportunities generated by the port development.
"Mark and I came on board for one thing, to create jobs," Santoro said. "I want to make sure of two things: I'd like to have contractors who are union, and if we ever get to the point where there's hiring, I don't want to tie ourselves up with an outfit where you'd have the workers living outside Fredericktown, Ohio, Brooke County and Hancock County."
Glyptis added that it's their job to "look out for the area."
"Job creation is important," he said. "We have tremendous opportunity here. Unemployment is high, look at what's happened in the steel industry."
Port Chairman B.J. DeFelice said they chose Fredericktown, Ohio, based Kokosing because it has expertise in marine projects and is familiar with Coast Guard and Department of Transportation requirements.
"Part of the contract is building a pier wall," he said. "Kokosing is experienced (in that area)."
He said local contractors will be used whenever possible. James White Construction, for instance, is already working on the storm sewer project.
"The operations aspect is going to be where all the (permanent) jobs are going to be created," he said, adding that during the construction phase the contract with Kokosing specifies using local workers and subcontractors whenever possible.
In other business, DeFelice said they'd been notified the port is eligible to apply for leftover funding from the Coast Guard port security grant project as well as U.S. Department of Transportation funding.
The Coast Guard funding could be used for training and security projects, including cameras, but they have just a week to prepare and submit the application.