LORAIN, Ohio (WKBN) – Local leaders gathered in Lorain Monday in support of a proposed submarine facility that will be a partnership between Lorain and Lordstown.

The Ohio AFL-CIO, the Ohio State Building and Construction Trades Council, the AFL-CIO Metal Trades Department and Bartlett Maritime Corporation gathered in support of the Bartlett Maritime project.

“We are going to take this message from coast to coast starting today. It all starts in Lorain. It all starts in Lordstown. It all starts with the rebirth of the Marine Highway. It all starts with manufacturing with the Bartlett Maritime Plant. It all starts here today, and you are the new DNA to make it happen,” said AFL-CIO President Jimmy Hart.

Bartlett Maritime Corporation wants to build a submarine service facility in Lorain and a component repair facility in Lordstown to service Naval submarines. Company officials say the project could solve major problems the Navy is facing.

“They don’t have the workforce at the places they’re doing business now. They don’t have the physical infrastructure at the places they’re doing business now,” said Edward Bartlett, CEO of Bartlett Maritime Corporation.

Officials talked about what’s called the Marine Highway and its importance to the nation’s military. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Marine Highway is a network of rivers, bays, channels, coasts, the Great Lakes, open-ocean routes and the Saint Lawrence Seaway System.

Rear admiral Rober Rick, U.S. Navy retired, said it’s critical.

“The Marine Highway is easily one of the most important elements to our national security,” he said.

The rally was also attended by Senator Sherrod Brown, Congressman Tim Ryan, and other local leaders. Ryan said the Bartlett project means jobs.

“We need to make these investments because of China, Russia, of course, but it’s also here in America. Jobs here. Good paying jobs, middle-class jobs, so it’s a win for everybody,” Ryan said.

Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill echoed Ryan’s comments and is completely on board.

“This is a big deal. These will be good-paying jobs. These will be life-sustaining jobs, that is what we want,” he said.

Bartlett said the deal is very close.

“In golf terms, it’s not a two-inch putt, it’s not a 6-inch putt, it’s probably a 2-foot putt. We’re very close,” he said.

If it becomes a reality, the project would create 4,000 permanent metal trades union jobs, as well as 2,000 to 3,000 construction jobs.