STEELTON, Pa. (WHTM) — Steelton’s most iconic landmark is getting a new owner. The old Bethlehem Steel Plant is owned by ArcelorMittal, but it was suddenly announced on Monday that they will sell to Cleveland-Cliffs.
A billion-dollar business deal will likely take months before any changes are made, but both companies hope to have it finalized by the end of the year.
Any time there’s a change in ownership, it can stir up anxiety, but there’s one certainty in all fo this: there’s someone in Steelton’s corner.
George Hartwick is the former mayor of Steelton and a lifelong cheerleader.
“There’s no place in this world that I’d rather be from,” Hartwick said.
The over 150-year-old mill is one of three rail producers left in the country, and it’s steel has been used everywhere from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Toronto Sky Dome.
“You could travel around the world and see many structures and locations that were actually formed and made strong to last in Steelton, Pennsylvania,” Hartwick said.
The next hope is for the mill to last, and it appears that the new owner is on the same page.
“The transaction will enable us to become a more efficient fully-integrated steel system, with the ability to realize all of our operational and financial goals,” said Cleveland-Cliffs CEO Lourenco Goncalves.
This sounds good to Hartwick, but he said he will fight to make sure it’s “great.”
“I certainly will be involved in making sure that we are engaged in the highest level trying to have an open conversation with whoever the new owner is to make sure that Steelton is not negatively impacted,” Hartwick said.
He said he and other leaders are already at work to make sure Cleveland-Cliffs knows they’re getting a gem — not just steel.
“Knowing the commitment they’ve had over the course of time, to be able to produce steel, the history of that facility, and also, the investment in modernization that is happening with the new furnace,” Hartwick said.
Because you can’t spell steel without Steelton.
“I think steel and the toughness of steel sort of represents the character and the fiber of the people within the community,” Hartwick said.
Steelworks Union President Ray Napoli said he hopes the new company will make upgrades to keep the plant in business.
There are 344 employees that work at the plant now — that’s just a fraction of what it was in the company’s heyday.