June 20--STRUTHERS -- Bedecked in their blue shirts, Aqua Ohio officials broke ground on a new $2.5-million operations center in the CASTLO Industrial Park on Monday.
"It's really exciting for us," said Jennifer Johnson, Struthers Aqua area manager. "It will make us more efficient."
The Struthers division of the local water company provides water to 10 communities including Struthers. Thirteen employees will work in the new operations center. The center is 14,300 square feet on 4.8 acres. A majority of the space will be used for storage and the rest will be for offices.
Since Aqua Ohio has had a base in Struthers since the early 1900s, the company saw the importance to staying in the area and to be a part of the recent development at CASTLO.
"To be a part of that development we thought was important for the whole area," Johnson said.
Penn Ohio Sealing recently refurbished its property in CASTLO, and Flying J, a truck stop company, built a new storage building inside the park in late 2015.
The Aqua Ohio building is the second new building inside CASTLO in 40 years.
The Western Reserve Port Authority's Northeast Ohio Development and Finance Authority took over managing and operating CASTLO in fall 2016.
"We were able to tear some buildings down," said Sarah Lown, executive director of CASTLO. "We were able to open some acreage for new builds. We are in discussions with other companies to locate their operations here as well."
Struthers Mayor Terry Stocker explained how Aqua Ohio has always been a large part of the community, especially with the Struthers Day event that takes place every June.
"It means a lot to the community to have them invest [here]," Stocker said. "We have built a relationship with Aqua."
The $2.5 million investment in CASTLO is part of a total $10 million investment the company plans to make in the area this year.
Aqua Ohio plans to replace 6,000 linear feet of aging water mains, perform plant upgrades and do water storage enhancements.
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