Congressmen Tim Ryan and Mike Kelly Introduce Legislation to Establish Steel Valley National Heritage Area | Congressman Tim Ryan
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Congressmen Tim Ryan and Mike Kelly Introduce Legislation to Establish Steel Valley National Heritage Area

May 7, 2019
Press Release
Includes Mahoning, Trumbull, Mercer, and Lawrence Counties of Ohio and Pennsylvania

Washington, DC – Congressmen Tim Ryan (OH-13) and Mike Kelly (PA-16) today introduced legislation (H.R. 2525) that would designate Mahoning, Trumbull, Mercer, and Lawrence counties in Ohio and Pennsylvania as the Steel Valley National Heritage Area. National Heritage Areas tell nationally important stories that celebrate our nation’s diverse heritage. The bill would establish a commission of Ohioans and Pennsylvanians with knowledge of historic preservation, natural resources conservation, economic development and tourism, organized labor, the arts, and local communities. In addition to developing and implementing a management plan, the commission would be tasked with integrating and promoting industrial steel and manufacturing-related heritage sites, cultural initiatives, and recreational opportunities within the National Heritage Area.

“For decades, the Mahoning Valley Steelmaking District was one of the five largest steelmaking areas in the world. Mahoning Valley mills helped raise America’s cities, build our infrastructure, and support the war effort,” said Congressman Ryan. “At a time when our society was fraught with division, steelmaking helped create diverse communities united by a common identity. Steelworkers powered our nation’s labor movement, sparked community activism, and grew the middle class. The values they shared—fairness, community, hard work, and grit—are not just Midwestern values, but American values. I am proud to introduce legislation honoring the unique cultural and steelmaking heritage of the Mahoning Valley. The story of this region is the story of America, and it deserves to be told.”

“Pennsylvania has a rich history in the steel industry. We helped build some of our nation’s most iconic landmarks, including the Brooklyn Bridge, the George Washington Bridge, the Chrysler Building and the Empire State building. These mills were, and remain today, an integral part of Western Pennsylvania’s, and America’s, economic and cultural lifeblood. I am proud to sponsor this legislation, which would designate Mercer and Lawrence Counties as part of the new Steel Valley National Heritage Area. This would allow us to preserve the memory of our industrial steel and manufacturing past as we look to build on it in the future, and help bring economic development via tourism to these communities,” said Congressman Kelly.

National Heritage Areas (NHAs) are established by Congress to support community-based historic preservation, natural resource conservation, heritage tourism, recreation, and cultural interpretation. To be considered for this designation, an area must have nationally distinctive historic, cultural, and natural resources that together tell a unique story about the United States.

You can find the full text of the bill here.

You can find a map of the Steel Valley National Heritage Area, including verified sites of historic steel mills, here.