NCST, city’s new beginning focus of PBS documentary

The film crew of Kelly Woodward and Jamie Jansen was in the New Castle School of Trades’ electrical and industrial maintenance lab on Wednesday filming students and instructors for an upcoming documentary on the revitalization of the city of East Liverpool. “This might provide lessons for other communities like East Liverpool, are there lessons here that people have learned that other communities that are struggling might be able to benefit from, because there are no shortage of East Liverpools. Yes this community has a very unique flavor and there are a lot of great, unique things about this community. But in terms of depressed economies, Rust Belt Ohio, you can name a lot of different communities that are struggling,” said Woodward. (Photo by Julie Riedel)

EAST LIVERPOOL — A film crew from Western Reserve Public Media, WNEO/WEAOm a PBS affiliate, was in East Liverpool on Wednesday to gather footage of the New Castle School of Trades for an upcoming documentary on East Liverpool.

The crew of Kelly Woodward and Jamie Jansen has been in East Liverpool approximately a dozen times for the documentary tentatively titled “A Point of New Beginning.” The documentary is in the early stages and is expected to be approximately 30 minutes long. It is undetermined when it will air.

“We’re looking at the community of East Liverpool as an example of what a dedicated group of citizens can do to impact their city and their community,” said Woodward, the producer, writer and director of the project. “As a station we’ve been really impressed with the dedication of the people here and their commitment to making a difference and revitalizing an economy and instilling hope in an area that’s been pretty depressed after the loss of steel and the loss of the potteries.”

Woodward has a deadline of the end of October for filming and scripting. She hopes to have the documentary airing by the end of 2019 or early 2020, but she will have a better idea once post-production begins. Woodward also expects the documentary to have additional content online and potential follow up stories.

“We’re here today because this is, I guess, if you’re looking at a documentary as a major story, this is a very important chapter and having the school here is not only good for students and for the economy,” said Woodward. “But it also shows hope and what else can happen down here with historic buildings, that might not be in great shape, and it gives an idea of the possibilities.”

The East Liverpool Community Partnership for Revitalization, ELCPR, approached NCST back in 2011 to start talks of having an East Liverpool branch. By Nov. 2016 the East Liverpool NCST branch located in the former Ogilvie Department store was open. Part of the agreement the ELCPR made with NCST was that the school needed to use an existing historic building within East Liverpool and the renovation needed to follow historic building guidelines.

“We were the catalyst that got it [the revitalization] going, no one really wanted to jump in until someone else did,” said Rex Spaulding, president of NCST. “We’re excited to have PBS here and we’re hoping that it brings some excitement to East Liverpool.”

WNEO/WEAO is based out of Kent, the station broadcasts throughout northeast Ohio and southwestern Pennsylvania with a coverage population of approximately 5.12 million. Woodward was assigned “A Point of New Beginning” by the station. The project began in May of 2018 and Woodward expects to be back in East Liverpool between three and five times to complete filming. Trina Cutter, the station’s president and chief executive officer explained public broadcasting strives to be engaged with its entire broadcast area.

“My hope is that East Liverpool will turn around, and become a model for other cities in the U.S. that have the same challenges.”


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