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Kimberly-Clark to buy former steel mill land in Warren, Ohio

WARREN, Ohio (From news reports) - An announcement made late last week is being described as historic economic development news for the Mahoning Valley.

The Western Reserve Port Authority approved the sale of former steel mill property in the Warren and Howland area to the Kimberly-Clark Corporation, which plans to build something there.

Western Reserve Port Authority Executive Director Anthony Trevena made the recommendation to approve the purchase, and the Western Reserve Port Authority Board of Directors unanimously approved the sale of 560 acres of the 1,000-acre site of the former steel mill property that was once used by companies like Republic and RG Steel to Kimberly-Clark for $9.9 million.

"What we know so far is the company does have a presentation to their board of directors in 2024 for their development plan," Trevena said. "We know they're in manufacturing and they design and create many different products, so we have yet to see what that product is. We don't know the timeline or exactly what they're going to build -- 2024 they're going to announce."

During the meeting, Trevena described some of the well-known products made by Kimberly-Clark such as Cottonelle, Depend, Huggies, Kleenex, Poise, Scott, Kotex and more.

The land Kimberly Clark is buying had been used to make steel for 100 years from 1912 to 2012. It was then bought by the Port Authority and cleaned up.

"Starting back at fresh ground really made the difference for this property being in the position for the port authority, for the chamber to get this to a sellable product for a company like Kimberly-Clark," said Howland Township Trustee Matthew Vansuch.

Chuck Smith of Kimberly Clark joined the meeting by video but gave no details of what the company has planned for the property and no indication about what will be made or how many jobs will be created.

"We are very excited about this opportunity and this acquisition of the land formerly held as the BDM steel plant," said Chuck Smith, with Kimberly-Clark.

"This was brought to us by a site selector who was seeking out the entire country, and they chose the Mahoning Valley," Trevena said.

Guy Coviello with the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber said the deal is historic.

"Seeing a company of this magnitude interested in us and seeing organizations like the port authority and the various townships and cities involved and the chamber, it's a historic kind of pivotal moment," Coviello said.

"It's nice to talk about the next use of the steel site as opposed to us losing the steel, and that's what today is all about," said Ed Mruansky, a board member with the Western Reserve Port Authority.

Getting Kimberly-Clark to come to Youngstown took between one and two years. Trevena said for the longest time he didn't know who the company was. It was simply known as Project Anomaly. In fact, there were non-disclosure agreements in place to keep the project as secret as possible.


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