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Energy plant will bring influx of cash to school district, township

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One of the biggest energy plants of its kind is planned for construction in Columbiana County.

It could bring an influx of cash to an area school district and township government.

The big winners in this story are the Wellsville School District and Yellow Creek Township. Both are set to receive millions as South Field Energy plans to build a billion dollar natural gas powered electric facility in Wellsville.

“Besides all that money they're getting, there's going to be construction costs, workers, people put to work,” said Commissioner Jim Hoppel. “So it's going to be a real big issue for our county. "

Approved Wednesday by Columbiana County commissioners, it's been in the works for two years. Yellow Creek Township is prepared to reap the benefits of the negotiations.

“The biggest we've ever, I think it's the biggest thing in the history of Yellow Creek Township,” said Kenny Biacco, trustees chairman.

$5 million to Yellow Creek Township will come in $500,000 to $1 million dispersals over 15 years. For Biacco, the money will go to a place of priority.

“The roads,” he said. “We have approximately 62, 64 roads in the township. And all of them need attention.”

Operating on a half-million budget, Biacco says it's crucial cash to receive as the township looks to pave dirt roads for the first time ever.

The other winner, the Wellsville School District, is set to receive $24 million.

“We have a pending compensation agreement that in lieu of an abatement, a 100 percent tax abatement of property taxes, the district will receive $1.5 million dollars per year for 15 years,” said Superintendent Richard Bereschik. “That will not start until one year after the completion of the project.”

The superintendent says the $24 million will allow administrators to finally plan upgrades to their curriculum, technology and buildings.

The plant, slated for construction off of Route 45, is expected to be opening in 2021. It will be the third of three energy plants like it in the region and likely the largest. It's expected to provide electricity to nearly one million homes.

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