ASHTABULA, OH – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined the Ashtabula County Port Authority and elected officials to celebrate the groundbreaking of the $3.1 million redevelopment project at the former First Energy C Plant, known as “Plant C.” The facility serves the critical water needs of Ashtabula’s industrial community, and helps sustain more than 1,000 jobs. Brown helped secure a $1.55 million U.S. Economic Development Agency (EDA) grant, matched with a $1.55 million Ohio Water Development Authority (OWDA) loan that will upgrade the outdated piping and pumping system in order to spur economic growth and create and protect jobs in Ashtabula County.

“The redevelopment of Plant C is significant to the health of Ashtabula County’s economy,” Brown said. “Updating the plant’s aging infrastructure will protect more than 1,000 jobs and help the businesses that rely on its water. These resources will also go a long way in ensuring that Ashtabula County in able to develop and create jobs in the future.”

While the port holds a permit to pump up to 200 million gallons of water a day from Lake Erie, it currently has the ability to pump only a small fraction of that. The redevelopment of Plant C, however, would create a consistent water resource that would help further the growth of Ashtabula County.

Joining Brown at the event, among others, was Ohio Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson), Ashtabula County Port Authority Board President Rob Schimmelpfennig, Ashtabula County Commissioners Joe Moroski, Peggy Carlo, and Dan Claypool, as well as representatives from the EDA.

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. 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.