Proposed legislation labels surrounding counties as Steel Valley National Heritage Area

Election 2020 Tim Ryan

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, speaks at the Heartland Forum held on the campus of Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Saturday, March 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

(WKBN) – Congressmen Tim Ryan and Mike Kelly introduced legislation on Tuesday to label Mahoning, Trumbull, Mercer and Lawrence counties as the Steel Valley National Heritage Area. 

According to a press release, the bill would create a commission made up of Ohioans and Pennsylvanians who have knowledge about historic preservation, natural resource preservation and economic development and tourism.

The commission would also promote heritage sites related to industrial steel and manufacturing. 

In a statement, Ryan said:

“For decades, the Mahoning Valley Steelmaking District was one of the five largest steelmaking areas in the world. Mahoning Valley mills helped raise America’s cities, build our infrastructure, and support the war effort. At a time when our society was fraught with division, steelmaking helped create diverse communities united by a common identity. Steelworkers powered our nation’s labor movement, sparked community activism, and grew the middle class. The values they shared—fairness, community, hard work, and grit—are not just Midwestern values, but American values. I am proud to introduce legislation honoring the unique cultural and steelmaking heritage of the Mahoning Valley. The story of this region is the story of America, and it deserves to be told.” 

In a statement, Kelly said:

“Pennsylvania has a rich history in the steel industry. We helped build some of our nation’s most iconic landmarks, including the Brooklyn Bridge, the George Washington Bridge, the Chrysler Building and the Empire State building. These mills were, and remain today, an integral part of Western Pennsylvania’s, and America’s, economic and cultural lifeblood. I am proud to sponsor this legislation, which would designate Mercer and Lawrence Counties as part of the new Steel Valley National Heritage Area. This would allow us to preserve the memory of our industrial steel and manufacturing past as we look to build on it in the future, and help bring economic development via tourism to these communities.”

To read the entire bill, click here.

To see a map of the proposed Steel Valley National Heritage Area, click here.

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