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Economic summit held in Salem

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SALEM, Ohio - Government and business leaders met for the Columbiana County Economic Development Summit Monday.

This year's event, which is in its fourth year, is being called Teaming Four Success.

The shale boom is still a major topic in Columbiana County, but officials say the discussion now goes beyond just oil and gas development, it now extends to the opportunities being created for other industries.

"There are also many end use products that now help us build sustanable industry that we can develop in the region," says Paul Boulier with Team NEO.

The new National Additive Manufacturing Initiative in Youngstown is adding to the Mahoning Valley's rich blend of technology and as additive manufacturing continues to expand, it will bring new opportunities for economic development.

"The research and development that's going on in that space is going to be very attractive opportunities for chemical companies, IT companies and engineering firms going forward," says Michael Hripko with the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics college at Youngstown State University.

The summit also provided an update on the proposed state Route 30 project, which would widen the heavily traveled roadway to four lanes.

"We're still pushing for completion of state Route 30 as a four lane from Canton to state Route 11 and we're working with [the Ohio Department of Transportation] to come up with additional funding and other sources of funding so that we can finalize that project," says Bob Durbin, chief deputy county engineer.

The goal of the economic summit is to grow northeast Ohio's competitiveness and attract new business by increasing the collaboration between local governments and economic development groups.

"To see the collaboration, dialog and discussion partnerships going on will pay us huge dividends in the future," Boulier says.

He believes the shale boom still presents a lot a challenges, including the fast pace at which it's developing, but he says it's really a marathon that will offer long term benefits.

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