FOLLANSBEE — At a special meeting Monday, Follansbee Council agreed to trade 1,800 square feet of city property at Follansbee’s south end for 1,800 square feet of land owned by Empire Diversified Energy near the city’s water treatment plant.
The move was supported by 1st Ward Councilwoman Tammy Johnson, 2nd Ward Councilman Charles McCoy, 3rd Ward Councilman Nick Cekinovich, 5th Ward Councilwoman Wendy DeAngelis and Councilman at large John Casinelli.
Fourth Ward Councilman Frank Pedersen didn’t attend the special meeting.
Mayor David Velegol Jr. confirmed that through the swap the city is able to square off land between the water plant and Washington Street, while Empire obtains land on which it had unintentionally built part of a 50,000-square-foot warehouse.
Velegol said Empire has agreed to provide easement across its own property to the water plant from State Street, resulting in the city having access to the plant from both State and Washington streets, which it did not have before.
The move will require a second reading.
Velegol said it may occur at a special meeting he has called for 6 p.m. Nov. 27 to discuss financial matters and mull the addition of a code enforcement officer.
The warehouse is one of two of the same size built by Empire earlier this year to support its development of a port operation on former Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel property at the city’s north end.
Empire officials have said the warehouses will be used to store silica and garnet abrasives and steel coils, pipe and cables.
Last week, the Brooke County Commission agreed to provide a letter of support for Empire’s application for $30 million in tax-exempt bonds through the West Virginia Economic Development Authority to develop the port.
The state board earlier issued $25 million in bonds for the development of wharfs and docks along a portion of 8,000 acres of former Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel property acquired by Empire in recent years.
The port has been eyed as one of nine hubs in a proposed network of hydrogen production and transportation facilities across the U.S.