Originally Posted on November 2nd, 2018 by GAZETTE NEWSPAPERS

DENMARK TOWNSHIP – Growth Partnership for Ashtabula County officials are eager for the Risberg Pipeline to come to the state, as they believe it will lead to new job opportunities in the area. Growth Partnership for Ashtabula County Executive Director Greg Myers talked about the effect the Risberg Pipeline could have on the county during his remarks at Growth Partnership’s quarterly luncheon on Wednesday, Oct. 24, held at the Northeast Ohio Regional Airport. The Risberg Pipeline, an $86 million project, is a 28-mile natural gas pipeline that will connect to 32 miles of existing pipeline.

Risberg Pipeline’s route will begin in the Meadville, Pa., area and extend in a northwest direction to Ashtabula County. The project will use approximately 32 miles of existing pipeline in
an established Right of Way originating in the Meadville, Pa. area. Approximately 16 miles of new pipeline will be installed in Pennsylvania and approximately 12 miles of new pipeline will be installed in Ohio.

The Risberg line proposes to make large quantities of clean-burning natural gas available to an area which previously had very limited access to this natural energy resource. Myers shared that he recently took part in a news segment with News Channel 5 that explored the pipeline and its potential for the county. He encouraged the guests in attendance to view the segment, which can be found online at https://www.news5cleveland.com/news/e-team/risberg-pipeline-would-solve-natural-gas-service-issues-for-a-community-that-relies-on-manufacturing.
“I think it was a very positive piece,” Myers said.

Myers said they’re working on 10 to 12 active attraction projects, and the pipeline is key to those projects. “The capital around those is well north of a billion dollars,” Myers said. “We’ve got some very substantial opportunities that we’re looking at.” Added Myers, “The majority of those opportunities we would not have if we didn’t have the gas pipeline coming in. That is a real game changer for us.”

Myers said the county was able to knock Quebec out of consideration for a project because of the pipeline. The county now is in that last spot of consideration.
That project would involve 100 new jobs here, should the county be chosen, he said. “We’re engaged in a lot of project activities right now. We have probably four to five existing retention and expansion projects that we’re working on,” Myers said. “Most of them are in the manufacturing sector. They total about $160 million in capital investment. Why is that extremely important? One because it’s connecting job opportunities to local contractors who can be involved and engaged in this. There’s financing opportunities… These expansions are going to drive new tax revenue for our municipalities, for our county, for our schools.”

Myers said one project in particular will have an announcement soon. The county was in competition for a very large project with the State of Tennessee. Growth Partnership was fortunate to receive a notice just recently that the investment will be here and that company will stay and grow, Myers said. “It’s a tremendous opportunity for all of us.”

Myers also touched on Growth Partnership recently receiving $30,000 through the Appalachian Regional Commission’s (ARC) Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative.
The investment will help fund a strategic plan to upgrade and redevelop existing rail and port infrastructure in Ashtabula County. The study will look at the county’s transportation assets, Myers said. The idea is to look at those assets and how they can be leveraged to advance development opportunities. He also believes that the process will allow Growth Partnership to pursue grant opportunities to help implement projects in the county. Myers also highlighted the updated workforce-development resource page (www.ashtabulagrowth.com/ workforce-development) on the Growth Partnership website.

“It categorizes all of the various workforce-development programs that are being offered today within the county,” Myers said.

Growth Partnership also launched a Jobs Board (https://laborquotient.com/growthpartnership/) about six months ago, Myers said. “There’s roughly 50 jobs posted,” Myers said. “It’s a local jobs board. It’s for us to promote local opportunities.” Myers also said that Growth Partnership is looking at some new partnership opportunities to develop skill trades, like electrical, plumbing and HVAC. The website also has an updated wages and benefits survey, located under the “Local Employment” tab.

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