GOOD NEWS has morphed into frustration.
Gov. John Kasich attended a ceremony last October at the closed Yorkville steel mill. He brought with him a message that the facility would reopen.
Kasich even drew praise from the mill's owner, as Esmark chairman and CEO Jim Bouchard said the Kasich administration was instrumental in closing the $6.5 million deal for the Yorkville mill, working with his company and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to develop a remediation plan. The plan was needed to correct unresolved chemical spills that former owner RG Steel neglected to correct.
It was a time for hope and joy in the local steel community. Hundreds of laid-off workers were anxious to return to their livelihood.
Nearly a year later, that feeling of euphoria is now one of uncertainty for many and disgust for others, as the mill remains closed. Moreover, there is no signs that may change anytime soon, or ever.
State Rep. Jack Cera is trying to get matters moving in a positive direction.
The Bellaire legislator this week urged the governor's office and JobsOhio to continue their efforts in support of the Yorkville mill. Cera's plea echoes a similar one issued last week by Yorkville village officials.
"Restarting this plant is essential to the livelihood of many individuals in my district," said Rep. Cera. "Like the officials and families that are waiting to hear something positive on this endeavor, I know the important role this plant has for our economy."
Cera is correct when he underscores the impact the steel mill has on Yorkville and the Ohio Valley. Should the Yorkville plant restart, it may also have a positive trickle down effect with the closed Ferry steel facility.
Kasich and steel officials cleared a major hurdle when reaching an accord with EPA. Environmental issues posed a major stumbling block to the plant getting back on line.
Now with such issues no longer looming, Kasich and JobsOhio need to resume an active and aggressive approach with Esmark in a renewed effort to make the Yorkville mill's reopening a reality in a timely fashion.