ASHTABULA, OH – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) visited Ashtabula today to mark the completion of the redevelopment project at the former First Energy C Plant, known as “Plant C.” Brown helped secure $1.55 million for redevelopment of the facility, which serves the water needs of Ashtabula’s industrial community and helps sustain more than 1,000 jobs.
“This redevelopment project has not only saved jobs—it has opened the door for more businesses to invest in the area,” Brown said. “The funding allowed Ashtabula to replace four outdated water pumps – which date back to the 1940s and 50s – and supply many Ashtabula companies raw water. This project is a testament to the importance of making smart infrastructure investments, and to the talented workers and innovative leaders who are the backbone of Ashtabula County.”
During a ceremony marking completion of the four-year project, Brown joined Ashtabula County Commissioner Peggy Carlo, Ashtabula County Port Authority Board President Rob Schimmelpfennig, and a representative from the U.S. Economic Development Agency (EDA).
Brown helped secure a $1.55 million EDA grant – matched with a $1.55 million Ohio Water Development Authority (OWDA) loan – that helped upgrade the outdated piping and pumping system in order to spur economic growth and to create and protect jobs in Ashtabula County.
While the port has held a permit to pump up to 200 million gallons of water a day from Lake Erie, it has only been able to pump a small fraction of that. The redevelopment created a consistent water resource that provides water to six of the largest manufacturers in Ashtabula County – two of which have announced plans to expand operations since the expansion project.
Brown has been a strong supporter of Plant C and the EDA. In 2011, Brown fought to reauthorize the EDA and introduced an amendment to strengthen EDA’s ability to revitalize former auto communities in hard-hit regions of Ohio and the country like Ashtabula. In 2010, Brown 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 Plant C.