Congressman Tim Ryan Announces $2.5 Million in Federal Funds for the Mahoning Valley to invest in Broadband, Energy Innovation, and Business Capital | Congressman Tim Ryan
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Congressman Tim Ryan Announces $2.5 Million in Federal Funds for the Mahoning Valley to invest in Broadband, Energy Innovation, and Business Capital

October 14, 2020
Press Release

Youngstown, Ohio – Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13) announces $1.45 million to Eastgate Council of Governments to install 10 miles of fiber to establish a broadband network in downtown Youngstown that will serve 212 business locations and create 119 new jobs, $49,950 to BRITE Energy Innovators in Warren to continue their energy storage innovations, and $1 million to Appalachian Growth Capital to expand access to capital for small businesses in the Appalachian region of Ohio which includes the Mahoning Valley. These funds were made available by the Appalachian Regional Commission’s POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative for coal-impacted communities.

In 2007, Congressman Ryan helped spearhead legislation that added Mahoning, Trumbull, and Ashtabula counties to the Appalachian Regional Commission – making funding for this projects and countless others possible. 

“These projects are exactly why I spearheaded the legislation that added our community to the Appalachian Regional Commission more than a decade ago. I am proud to have been able to use my position to not only ensure we are covered by ARC, but to fight every year to bring funds back to the district. These funds will help to establish a much-needed broadband network in Youngstown and continue to revitalize our downtown. They will provide BRITE with critical resources to continue to lay the groundwork for transforming the Mahoning Valley into Voltage Valley and they will provide area businesses with access to capital so we can continue to grow our local economy here at home,” said Congressman Tim Ryan.  

"POWER grants are playing a critical role in supporting coal-impacted communities in the Appalachian Region as they recover from COVID-19 by building and expanding critical infrastructure and creating new economic opportunities through innovative and transformative approaches," said ARC Federal Co-Chairman Tim Thomas. "Projects like this are getting Appalachia back to work.”

“We are grateful to the Appalachian Regional Commission for the investment in the Youngstown SMART2 Network project.  Securing the $1.45 million in ARC POWER Grant funding will allow for the installation of fiber conduit for high speed internet along the downtown business district corridors and extend to Youngstown State University and Mercy Health.  The entire project will enhance the economic revitalization efforts within the City of Youngstown and lay the groundwork for a brighter future in the Mahoning Valley,” said Jim Kinnick, Executive Director, Eastgate Regional Council of Governments.

“The burgeoning energy storage cluster expands beyond Northeast Ohio and BRITE is thrilled to work closely with universities including Carnegie Mellon University and West Virginia University to leverage the innovation occurring across Appalachia. Energy storage is of central importance for our nation’s security and resiliency and BRITE seeks to work with partners across Appalachia to pilot new technologies,” said Sara Daugherty, Director of Operations & Economic Impact, BRITE Energy Innovators

Grant Details: 

  • $1,450,000 to the Eastgate Council of Governments in Youngstown, OH for the Youngstown SMART2 Network. The project will install over 10 miles of fiber conduit in downtown Youngstown as the first step toward establishing a broadband network that can support businesses, healthcare, education, and residents working and learning remotely. The SMART Network is a collection of infrastructure improvements designed to revitalize the Youngstown central business district. It will help reverse decades of outward migration and disinvestment by providing the basic infrastructure needed to support and attract business. The project will capitalize on over $50 million in recent public and private investments. Matching funds are being provided through a BUILD grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, a surface transportation block grant, Youngstown State University, Mercy Health, and other public and private partners. The conduit is projected to serve 212 business locations and create 119 new jobs.
  • $1,000,000 to Appalachian Growth Capital (AGC) in Nelsonville, OH for the CDFI for Appalachian Ohio project. The project will enable AGC, a community development financial institution (CDFI), to expand access to capital for small businesses in Appalachian Ohio through technical assistance to potential business borrowers and by increasing the capital available in AGC’s loan fund. AGC will assist businesses in improving their business plans, becoming bankable, finding other sources of funding, and solving critical issues facing them. It will leverage $750,000 of grant funds to attract $2.25 million in private investment in AGC’s loan fund. The project will strengthen entrepreneurship in Southeast Ohio, helping diversify an economy that has been heavily dependent on coal. The project will serve 300 businesses, improve 150 businesses, create 180 jobs, retain 360 jobs, leverage $29,250,000 in total private investment in the region (including borrower commitments), and create 15 new businesses. The project builds on a previous POWER grant that helped create AGC. 
  • $49,950 to the BRITE Energy Innovators (formally Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center – TBEIC) in Warren, OH for the Energy Storage Road Map for Appalachian Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia project. Identifying energy storage assets in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, the project’s study will be an analysis and framework for leveraging the burgeoning energy storage cluster in the tri-state area with an emphasis on coal-impacted areas. The study will outline key assets in energy storage for grid generation, transportation, and consumer electronics. It will provide the groundwork needed to create entrepreneurial and business development strategies within the energy storage cluster. The study is specific to strengthening the supply chain for energy-tech, an industrial cluster, which enables the region to compete in the global economy.

In April of 2020, Ryan sent a letter to the ARC urging them to support Eastgate Regional Council of Governments’ application for $1.4 million in POWER 2020 funding for the implementation of broadband in Youngstown. That letter can be viewed here

The POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative targets federal resources to help communities and regions that have been affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries due to the changing economics of America’s energy production. 

The POWER Initiative supports efforts to create a more vibrant economic future for coal-impacted communities by cultivating economic diversity, enhancing job training and re-employment opportunities, creating jobs in existing or new industries, and attracting new sources of investment.