Posted on January 7, 2021
Grant money awarded to the city of Lorain to study port dredging will pay for the start of a similar project in Fairport Harbor.
On Jan. 4, Lorain City Council approved an agreement between the city and the Lake County Ohio Port and Economic Development Authority.
The city of Lorain will grant $750,000 for the Lake County Port to study how to build a facility to treat or recycle sediment dredged from the Grand River and Fairport Harbor.
Dredging crews periodically dig out material to maintain the needed depth of freighter navigation channels in the Black River and other port cities on the Lake Erie shoreline.
In years past, the crews would dump that mud in the open waters of Lake Erie, but that practice ended last year.
The city of Lorain has received $4 million from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to study how to process and reuse the sediment taken from the river bottoms.
The city Engineering Department, working with Coldwater Consulting LLC and the natural resources department, created a pilot project to dredge the Black River and dry out the mud on land.
Now, part of that money will pay for the Lake County Port to design a facility that does the same thing.
The Lake County Port and the city of Conneaut in Ashtabula County are working on dredge material reuse facilities.
But the 2020 novel coronavirus pandemic delayed a state capital budget, which in turn, delayed a state award to the Lake County Port, said Kate Golden, storm water manager in the Lorain City Engineering Department.
The city of Lorain could not return the grant money to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to give to the Lake County Port due to state regulations, but it can agree to grant the money to the Lake County Port, Golden said Jan. 4 during a Lorain City Council meeting.
The Lake County Port has retained Mannik & Smith Group as a consultant to develop the Fairport Harbor facility, said Peter Zahirsky, Lake County Port director of coastal development.
Zahirsky penned a letter explaining the project, which was included with Lorain City Council’s legislation.
Fairport Harbor is a deep draft commercial harbor with authorized depths of 25 feet in the outer harbor and 18 to 24 feet in the Grand River, he said.
Roughly 1.6 million tons of material a year ship through Fairport Harbor, generating $85 million in direct revenue and supporting 1,685 jobs that produce more than $109 million a year in personal income, Zahirsky said.
To sustain that shipping, dredge crews must scoop out about 150,000 cubic yards of material every one or two years.
The Fairport Harbor facility would sit on land along Lake Erie, between Marianna Properties east to the Painesville Township Park, and north of Fairport Nursery Road, according to the locator map included with the project documents.
The money from the city of Lorain’s grant will cover project planning, permitting, preliminary design, detailed design and engineering, oversight and phase one of the site preparation construction.
The project planning started last fall and the site preparation for construction could take place from February to April this year, according to Zahirsky’s project schedule.