LORDSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A proposal is being discussed within the U.S. military, the White House and others in Washington that could potentially bring a naval maintenance facility to Lordstown.
Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill forwarded a 27-page document that outlines what will be called the Lordstown-Lorain Project.
The project would involve the village of Lordstown and the city of Lorain, separated by 80 miles of the Ohio Turnpike.
The document states the plan would restore critical naval shipyard capacity and capability and that it would solve the submarine maintenance crisis within the Navy’s budget limitations.
The idea for the project came from former Navy officer Captain Ed Bartlett, who runs Bartlett Maritime in the Cleveland suburb of Broadview Heights.
“As of today, I’d say we’re on the five-yard line and we just have to knock it in,” said Bartlett.
Bartlett spent much of his career on submarines and developed the Lordstown-Lorain Project because of a November 2018 report.
“But that report publicly disclosed that for the prior decade our attack submarine, the U.S. Navy attack submarines, were not getting the proper maintenance that they required,” said Bartlett.
Barlett’s plan is to build what would be called the American Naval Depot in Lordstown. It would be a new construction site that would employ from 500 to 1,000 people.
At the same time, an American Naval Shipyard would be built in Lorain. It would include two dry docks for submarines in an enclosed production facility and would employ between 2,000 to 3,000 people.
The maintenance of the submarine parts and those from aircraft carriers docked elsewhere would be done in Lordstown.
“The reason Lordstown is attractive to us is because of the rail network there with CSX and Norfolk Southern. So there’s national rail access, and because of the interstate connections — the turnpike, 76 and 80,” said Bartlett.
Bartlett called it a multi-billion dollar project that would involve both private and government money. He hopes to have broken ground by this fall.
“We expect, based on preliminary work we’ve done with the construction folks, that the Lordstown site will be up and operating in about 24 months after that,” said Bartlett.
Mayor Hill said several sites are being looked at in Lordstown, but nothing has yet to be selected.
AFL-CIO signed off on the project in Washington on Thursday.
It’s not a done deal yet and there’s the potential of 2,500 to 4,000 jobs being created in Northeast Ohio
“We’re continuing to work on this. I sit on the defense appropriations committee, we’re always looking for opportunities to bring federal military defense funding to our area and this would be a hell of an opportunity. It could be very very big but we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us before we have any announcements,” said Congressman Tim Ryan.