Talks continue between new owners of the Warren RG Steel plant and government officials on the state and federal levels in an attempt to help pay for winterization of the idled Pine Avenue, Warren, plant.
Winterization of the plant, purchased by BDM Warren Steel Holdings last month, will preserve it for a possible reopening. Without the process - estimated as costing up to $1 million - the plant likely would be damaged beyond repair during the winter months.
Laura Jones of JobsOhio and Pat Lowery, spokesman for U.S. Rep. Timothy J. Ryan, confirmed talks are ongoing to help with funding the project, but declined to release further details.
''The state of Ohio understands the importance of the Warren facility to the area,'' Jones said Wednesday.
Messages left seeking comment from Charles J. Betters, one of the new owners, and his attorney were not immediately returned.
United Steelworker officials have estimated winterization should be completed within the next month.
Several of RG Steel's plants have been sold since the company filed bankruptcy in May.
Steubenville development leaders are taking advantage of the fact the new owner of a 111-acre industrial property in that city is willing to consider doing more than just turn that plant into a scrap heap.
Progress Alliance Executive Director Ed Looman said a steady stream of prospects have been wowed by the potential of the Steubenville property, now owned by River Rail Development, part of Wheeling-based Herman Strauss Industries.
Strauss paid $15 million for the former RG Steel Steubenville plant, most of it for the machinery and buildings, while a New York-based salvage company, Frontier Industrial, dropped $20 million on the Mingo Junction plant.
In Steubenville, Frontier has said it will consider leasing certain high-value parts of the Mingo operation, and has consulted capital funds about potentially restarting operations.
"The good news for us is our vacant properties are hot," he said during Tuesday's partners meeting, hosted this month by the Jefferson Regional Planning Commission. "The former RG Steel property (in Steubenville) is drawing an extremely large amount of interest from companies outside the area looking to relocate here.
''We're taking numerous prospects to tour that site, and Strauss also has prospects coming to look at that site. When you see the folks visiting there, they're just like kids at Christmas when they walk in and see what's available,'' Looman said.
"Going forward, I think that property is going to be huge for our county, as is the potential for the Mingo Junction property going forward."
Linda Harris of the (Steubenville) Herald-Star contributed to this report.