A $1.73 million state grant for Hermitage is paving the way for 90 new jobs.

The grant, awarded Tuesday by the state Department of Community and Economic Development, will improve Lamor Road between North Kiel Ridge Road and state Route 18 (North Hermitage Road), and provide easier access to Joy Cone Co.’s plants.

The ice cream cone and cookie producer is embarking on a 200,000 sq. ft. addition to its cookie plant and adding a new batter room for its sugar cone line. The company currently employs around 600.

“With our growth there’s been a lot more traffic on Lamor Road,’’ said David George, Joy Cone’s CEO. “And the road already wasn’t in the greatest shape.’’

Planned storm sewer upgrades in the corridor are essential, he said.

“This past summer we had flooding on our property and it got into the building,’’ he added.

The project also includes the addition of sidewalks in the area, said Hermitage city Manager Gary Hinkson. Also, sections of the corridor will be leveled out to give drivers a better line of sight.

In all 1,700 feet of roads will be improved, Hinkson said. Final plans are still in the works but construction is expected to begin next year.

Joy Cone officials said they see the project as essential for expansion of their business.

The company’s expansion will allow for increased production of its existing product lines, including cookies that are baked, chopped up and sold to be mixed with ice cream, and a powder for graham cracker pie crust.

Additionally, Joy Cone is moving into the retail cookie business, with the manufacture of cookies packaged for retail sales. The expansion will make that possible.

When the additions are completed the company will have 850,000 square feet under roof, easily eclipsing the Shenango Valley Mall’s roughly 510,000 square feet in Hermitage.

Joy Cone has been a steadfast supporter of the area, said Gary Gulla, Hermitage assistant city manager.

“Not only do they provide good jobs, they’re community-minded and support so many organizations.’’

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