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Published: Tuesday, 3/31/2009

Stimulus tour visits East Toledo shipyard

BY JC REINDL
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Accompanied by Gov. Ted Strickland, U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur talks about the allocated funds. They joined other officials at Toledo Shipyard, which is to receive funds for repair and other work. Accompanied by Gov. Ted Strickland, U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur talks about the allocated funds. They joined other officials at Toledo Shipyard, which is to receive funds for repair and other work.
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Gov. Ted Strickland, U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo), and other state and local leaders visited the Toledo Shipyard Monday morning as part of the governor's statewide tour highlighting planned projects that are to receive federal stimulus dollars.

The metropolitan Toledo area is to gain nearly $35 million in stimulus funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, with $15 million set aside for renovations, expansion, and equipment at the shipyard, located at 2245 Front St. in East Toledo.

Altogether, the stimulus windfall that was announced last week, provides funding for 149 projects in Ohio costing $774 million.

"Ohio would be devastated without these resources," Governor Strickland said in a brief speech from inside the shipyard's massive high-bay shop.

The 20,000-square-foot shop, which opened in early 2008 to replace a decades-old machine-shop complex, is to receive an expansion with the stimulus funds.

Ironhead Marine Inc. operates the shipyard for the Toledo Lucas County Port Authority, and estimates that the improvements could create as many as 100 skilled-trade jobs at the shipyard, with additional temporary construction jobs.

Ironhead has said it also hopes to begin producing wind turbine components, thanks to the stimulus funds.

"One of the goals here is also to become a leader in the production of wind turbine blades," Miss Kaptur said, "to take the same skills that are being used to repair ships and barges, and to begin to grasp and capture the fastest growing segment of the global energy market - which is in the wind area."

They and other speakers delivered remarks from behind a lectern near the middle of the shop floor, as a giant hook and chain dangled nearby overhead.

Nearly all the speakers were Democrats, and they praised the stimulus plan.

"If it were not for Sen. Sherrod Brown and Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur and the others in the House and the Senate, as well as the leadership of President Barack Obama, we would not be here this morning, we would not be talking about these investments," Mr. Strickland said.

Also in attendance were State Sen. Teresa Fedor (D., Toledo), House Speaker Pro Tempore Matt Szollosi (D., Oregon), Jolene Molitoris, director of the Ohio Department of Transportation, Mark Barbash, interim director of the Ohio Department of Development, Lucas County Commissioners Pete Gerken and Tina Skeldon Wozniak, Oregon Mayor Marge Brown, Mark Sobczak, president of Toledo City Council, and other area officials and businesses leaders.

Contact JC Reindl at:

jreindl@theblade.com

or 419-724-6065.



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