WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce to fund critical electrical and water pipe repairs at the former First Energy C Plant, known as “Plant C,” in Ashtabula.
“This is about maintaining the industrial base in Ashtabula, retaining more than 1,200 good-paying manufacturing jobs, and attracting new employers to the area," Brown said. "The Economic Development Administration's decision to invest in Plant C is a recognition of this plant's central importance to manufacturers in Ashtabula and their yet-untapped potential for growth. By investing in Plant C today, we can preserve jobs and set the stage for economic development in the future."
“EDA is pleased to work with U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, the Ashtabula County Port Authority and local leaders to provide federal funds to support the revitalization of the former First Energy C Plant and help spur local economic and job growth,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John R. Fernandez. “Investing in our manufacturing sector is essential to our nation’s competitiveness and this project to retain jobs for local employees and support Ashtabula’s economic recovery is part of the Administration’s effort to help America win the future and out-build the rest of the world.”
In March 2010, Brown wrote a letter to the EDA in support of the Ashtabula County Port Authority’s application for funds from the agency’s Economic Adjustment Assistance Program. In the letter, Brown cited that Plant C’s viability would ensure “a solid foundation for industrial expansion and job creation.”
In September 2010, Brown also convened a meeting with the Ashtabula County Port Authority, local business leaders, elected officials and other stakeholders to explore strategies to ensure the future viability of the former First Energy C Plant. His office worked closely with local stakeholders and Ohio Department of Development representatives to provide guidance for the Ashtabula County Port Authority in their pursuit of these EDA funds.
Plant C serves the critical water needs of Ashtabula's industrial community, and helps sustain more than 1,000 jobs. Without intervention, the outdated piping and pumping system will continue to degrade and risk significant economic consequences and job loss.
At the September meeting, attendees discussed resources available to preserve operations at Plant C in the hopes of retaining low-cost raw water for more than a half-dozen companies. Additionally, a dependable source of raw water is necessary for future development in the Ashtabula area. Also in attendance at the meeting were representatives from Johnson Controls, who are in negotiations with the Port Authority to convert the coal-burning FirstEnergy plant to run on biomass and create clean energy. With investments at the federal level, the Plant C project would create jobs and spur economic revitalization for Ashtabula County.