Port authority seeks funding for environmental study

EAST LIVERPOOL – The Columbiana County Port Authority is proceeding with plans to help a river terminal operator acquire additional property as part of a planned expansion.

The Port Authority board voted at this week’s meeting to apply for funding under Ohio’s Clean Assistance Fund program to determine the extent of any environmental issues that may exist on the property owned by North Star Coal, which is affiliated with the Parsons Coal Co.

The property located along the Ohio River in downtown East Liverpool is adjacent to Seaforth Mineral & Ore, a mineral processing and distribution company with a terminal near North Star and Parsons Coal. The McClurg brothers, who own Seaforth, recently purchased Parsons and began leasing the North Star property with the intent of eventually purchasing the land.

Before that can occur, tests have to be done to determine if suspected environmental contamination has occurred at the North Star site, which has been operated for 120 years by numerous companies and for a variety of uses.

Port Authority CEO Tracy Drake said Ohio’s Clean Assistance Program makes money available to perform environmental assessments of industrial property being considered for redevelopment.

“It’s one of the best programs the state has available,” Drake said, noting this is the third time they have taken advantage of the program.

Once the study determines if contamination exists and how much it would cost to remediate, the next step would be for the Port Authority to seek additional state funding to clean up the property, if the McClurgs would choose to proceed.

In other action, the board:

– Leased a half acre at its Wellsville industrial park to QST Trucking for parking for $800 per month. QST is providing trucking services to Anchor Drilling Fluids, a major industrial park tenant.

– Renewed a contract for services with the East Liverpool accounting firm of Miller, Stacey & Associates. The company was paid $10,075 last year.

– Renewed a $2.2 million letter of credit dating back to 2006 with Fifth Third Bank. This was used to finance construction of the data center/office complex at the industrial park in Wellsville, now being leased by Consol Energy. The renewal was for a lower interest rate.

– Leased office space at its St. George Street location to Heritage Environmental Services, which handles transportation services for Heritage-WTI located next door. The lease is for $91.50 per month, which includes utilities.

Finally, the board approved the following leases with new tenants at the Port Authority-owned former Ferro-Louthan building in East Liverpool:

– Richard Dieringer of Tri-State Supplies LLC, for 300 square feet of storage space, to store product. The rent is $80 per month.

– Chris Cowan, who does business as Cowan Masonry, for 4,992 square feet for $200 per month. The space is to be used for storing equipment.

Bill Pinto, for nearly 5,000 square feet for $275 per month. Pinto is to use the space for storage of products he sells.