The Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration has pledged $125 million in new federal loan guarantees to help create jobs for unemployed steelworkers in Youngstown, Ohio.
The new pledge is on top of $100 million worth of federal loan guarantees that were set aside for Youngstown two years ago when the first of the city's three big steel mills shut down.
The announcement last week that two more Mahoning Valley steel mills will close next year broght the promise of more government help and revived a plan to have workers take over the steel plants and keep them operating.
The Rev. Charles Rawlings, one of the leaders of that effort, said yesterday that, " $225 million would be enough to modernize one of these mills." y
Rawlings represents a coalition of church, labor and community leaders who developed the plan for workers to buy the former YoungstownSheet & Tube works, and equip it with new electric furnances and modern steel-forming equipment.
The group has not specified which of Youngstown's aging steel mills should get the federally financed updating. The coalition at one time had an option to buy the Youngstown Sheet & tube property, but that has lapsed, Rawlings said.
Other local groups are seeking EDA loans to finance a plant to make coke from coal and to build a commuter aircraft factory at the Youngstown municipal airport.
The EOA funds will be part of a $550 million effort to provide capital for steel companies to modernize their plants and install pollution control equipment.
EDA has poured almost $17 million in federal funds into the Youngstown area in the past two years, a federal official said yesterday.