A $5 million grant from the Ohio Department of Development will be used by the Port of Toledo to dredge for a deep sea port along the Maumee River, and pay for infrastructure improvements on the site.
The improvements will make the Port of Toledo the largest on the Great Lakes.
“This grant is an important shot in the arm for our economy,” said State Rep. Peter Ujvagi. “The project will enhance the ability of the Port of Toledo to remain competitive in the Great Lakes shipping business, crucial to the prosperity of this region. High paying jobs will be created in the Toledo area, and the expanded Port will produce long-term opportunities to grow the economy of northwest Ohio.”
The grant is part of the Job Ready Sites program. The project is one of 12 in the state receiving a total of more than $50 million. The competitive funding program is designed to help communities develop sites into marketable business facilities.
The Job Ready Sites program is part of the “Jobs for Ohio Bond Initiative” that was approved by voters in November, 2005.
The state grant will be combined with federal funds to prepare a significant portion of Port property in Oregon and East Toledo to make it ready for development, and dredge a portion of the river along the shoreline, said Ujvagi.
“Right now, we can’t dock boats along most of that whole section between the Kraft grain elevators and the port,” said Ujvagi. “This will help make that happen.”
Next year, Kraft plans to start shipping grain and flour out of its facilities, he added.
“This is a significant grant for us to be able to invest in making that area development-ready and job-ready,” he said.
Also getting help from the state is HCR Manor Care Services in Downtown Toledo, according to Ujvagi. HCR, an original spin-off of Owens Illinois, operates nursing and rehabilitation centers, assisted living facilities, outpatient rehabilitation clinics, and hospice and home care agencies nationwide.
The State Controlling Board approved $21.6 million in loans to the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority that will support efforts by HCR Manor Care Services to purchase a 220,000 square-foot building in Toledo. The project will create or secure more than 700 full-time jobs, according to Ujvagi.
The loans will help HCR buy its existing corporate headquarters in Toledo, with the Port Authority entering into a 20-year capital lease agreement that will facilitate the company’s growth, according to Ujvagi. In return for the financial support, HCR will create 52 new full-time jobs with an annual salary of approximately $51,800 and protect 684 at-risk, full-time jobs.
The loan will keep HCR in town, said Ujvagi.
“We were competing with Tennessee, which wanted to lure HCR from Downtown Toledo,” said Ujvagi. “This will add additional jobs and keep HCR in Toledo.”
Had HCR left, said Ujvagi, it would have “created a huge hole in Downtown Toledo.”
“This partnership is an example of the teamwork we need to get our economy moving forward,” said Ujvagi. “The state’s strategic investment in a strong, stable business will protect and create good-paying jobs that can serve as a foundation for an economic recovery. I believe we can expand this model to attract new business and build our economic base for long-term prosperity.”