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Voinovich School awarded $300K to continue PORTSfuture program

Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs has been awarded $300,000 in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Environmental Management Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office to continue work on the PORTSfuture program for the 2019 fiscal year.

Since 2010, the Voinovich School has received funds totaling $4.2 million to administer the PORTSfuture program, which informs DOE decision-making relating to clean-up and repurposing of public assets at the former uranium enrichment facility near Piketon, Ohio. The project is a collaborative effort among several Ohio University colleges and schools, the DOE, the Southern Ohio Diversification Initiative (SODI), the PORTS citizen advisory board, state regulatory agencies, elected officials, private industries, economic development entities, and the public in the four-county region affected by the site.

“Ohio University strives to be a national leader in economic development and sustainable practices,” Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis said. “Our partnership with the PORTSfuture program has helped improve the quality of life for numerous individuals in Southern Ohio, and we are pleased that this work is advancing.”

As with previous grants, the latest installment of funds is expected to continue providing information to the DOE that contributes to helping the site cleanup and repurposing happen faster, cheaper and more efficiently. The accelerated reindustrialization of the facility is anticipated to result in business attraction, growth and job creation for the surrounding communities.

PORTSfuture is currently working with SODI and other site stakeholders to develop an Integrated Energy System/Closed-Loop advanced Manufacturing (IES-CLM) complex at PORTS to grow industry, leverage coal and shale resources in additive manufacturing applications, create jobs and build the southern Ohio economy. The program also conducts numerous applied environmental projects, produces data analysis reports, creates interactive geographic information systems, provides regional entrepreneurship panel discussions and college student business pitch competitions in collaboration with the OHIO Chillicothe Campus and Shawnee State University, engages in STEM outreach activities with high school students, and more.

“This project serves as an exemplary example of converting a national liability to a national asset resulting in economic development. It is an extraordinary opportunity to demonstrate what can and should be done with former DOE Defense Nuclear Sites or other brownfield sites. These efforts will contribute to economic development efforts to provide the region hope that it can transform and improve the quality of life for southern Ohioans,” PORTSfuture Program Director Stephanie Howe said.