Ashtabula Seeking to Save Coal Conveyor

Ashtabula and Norfolk Southern are expected to reach an agreement on the sale of a coal conveyor belt and bridge in the city’s harbor that will enable preservation of the structure.

The Ashtabula City Council earlier this week authorized City Manager Jim Timonere to enter into agreements with NS and the Ashtabula River Foundation to buy the conveyor belt and bridge, lease the land it’s situated on, and sublease the land to one or more appropriate entities to maintain the structure at minimal expense to the city. 

The city has limited at $10,000 how much it will spend, although that figure could be revised upward with city council approval.

The River Foundation will be responsible for maintenance of the structure with Timonere saying that only the cost of survey work will come from city funds.

The conveyor belt is located in NS Harbor Yard, which has been inactive in recent years after the railroad shifted its work to Sandusky. That move, announced in December 2015, led to 20 job cuts in Ashtabula.

Timonere has been discussing with NS the future of the coal conveyor for the past two years.

The Ashtabula Harbor coal pier primarily served the thermal coal market, trans-loading coal from Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia to Canada and other U.S. destinations.

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