Abandoned Gas Station grant OK’d for area site

STEUBENVILLE — A $250,000 Ohio Abandoned Gas Station grant has been approved for a site on South Third Street near state Route 7.

The Jefferson County Port Authority moved Friday afternoon to issue a request for qualifications leading to the hiring of an environmental remediation contractor. Qualifications should be submitted by Sept. 12 to the port authority. Executive Director Evan Scurti will review and rank the proposals based on criteria in the grant, with the authority to meet and negotiate a contract with the best-ranked contractor later in the month.

The authority moved to establish separate revenue and line items in its budget to handle the grant, which comes on a pass-through basis. The authority is billed and seeks the money from the state to pay the bills for the tank removal and site remediation. The Ohio Motor Group owns the site and has acknowledged it is the property owner for purposes of beginning the process, Scurti said. The idea is to get the site environmentally ready for future redevelopment.

The site is across Route 7 from the Pilot truck stop area.

In other matters:

¯ Scurti reported working with a small business for a possible site downtown for a retail project. He said Urban Projects Director Chris Petrossi and Mayor Jerry Barilla have been working with the prospect.

¯ Legal documents are being reviewed for Certwood Ltd. for a site development in the county industrial park off county Road 43 north of Wintersville. Certwood is buying 4.8 acres and plans construction in early 2019. The firm manufactures injection-molded products, mainly storage systems for schools. It has been working from a site in Wintersville since 2008 and has been in business in England for more than 30 years.

¯ Scurti said expansion of the county enterprise zone to cover the former Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp. Yorkville plant is expected to be approved by the state in September.

¯ The port authority is working with the city of Steubenville in researching grants for water and sewer projects in the city.

¯ A tax abatement has been continued by the county for the Plains Energy site north of Toronto on the former Toronto Edison plant site. The abatement of 50 percent of the property taxes is in its third year but has not been used because it’s for a new building to be built on the site. The project is on indefinite hold.

¯ Scurti reported the annual fundraising campaign is at 68 percent of its goal of $45,000.

¯ Board member Gary Cain has been reappointed to a new term by the county commissioners and Debbi Venci to a new term by Mayor Jerry Barilla for the city of Steubenville.

¯ The board approved membership in a split $1,000 a year fee to be paid by the authority and the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce. A pro-rated $166 membership is being paid by the authority for the remainder of 2018.