Our Towns

Canfield Officials Hail Growth in City, Township

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CANFIELD, Ohio – City and township officials hailed recent and upcoming development at today’s “Good Morning, Canfield” breakfast.

The sold-out event drew 108 registrants to the community room of the Canfield branch of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning, according to Kim Calvert. Calvert is Youngtown Warren Regional Chamber vice president for marketing.

The city of Canfield is enjoying “exciting times,” Mayor Bernie Kosar Sr. said. One major project he hailed, however, is taking shape outside city limits, the $12 million Windsor House at Canfield nursing home and rehabilitation center.

The land for the project sits in Canfield Township and, because it isn’t contiguous to the city, could not be annexed, Kosar said.

“The township and the city created the first JEDD – Joint Economic Development District – in Mahoning County to make that possible,” he said. “It’s a win-win situation.”

Ground was broken last month on the 72-bed complex, which Kosar said should be completed in fall 2017. Coincidentally, it is expected to employ 72 workers, he said.

Among other township developments the mayor mentioned are the groundbreaking this summer for Fire Station No. 3, which he said should lower insurance rates, and the recent completion of the new $8.5-million home of Mahoning County Educational Service Center.

“These projects highlight the economic development and construction activity, but there are others,” he continued, pointing to the resurfacing and repaving program nearing completion.

The educational service center is “quite an organization,” he remarked. He had thought of the school primarily as the county training center, he said.

“It’s much more than that,” he said. “I’m still trying to get my arms around exactly what it is they do. But they do a lot of good things.”

“This is not your father’s [joint vocational school],” said Ron Iarussi, superintendent of both the educational service center and Mahoning County Career & Technical Center. Many programs the center offers allow students to graduate with industry certifications that allow them to move into high-paying, quality jobs.

The service center employs nearly 1,250 people across the county, including nearly 300 in the new building. It provides a variety of shared services to 17 member districts and 23 school districts overall in a five-county area. Those services include special education, early childhood education and curriculum and professional development.

Regional Chamber representatives had informed the mayor that the online Insider Monkey blog has identified Canfield as the top retirement location in the state of Ohio, Kosar said.

In addition to the Windsor House project, Brian Governor, chairman of the Canfield Township Board of Trustees, noted construction of a new four-tenant plaza next to the Bob Evans Restaurant and the new Starbucks café and Chipotle restaurant on Raccoon Road should open within a month.

“There’s a lot of community excitement about that,” he remarked. In addition, the new GetGo service station and convenience store should open in a couple weeks.

Governor also provided an update on road projects and catch basin work underway or about to begin, as well as a headstone restoration project scheduled to begin next week at Dean Hill Cemetery. “We have some headstones that you can’t even read,” he remarked.

Canfield Township continues to lead Mahoning County in residential construction permits issued, he related.

Several of the morning’s speakers – among them Kevin Helmick, president and CEO of Farmers National Bank, the event sponsor; Alex Geordan, Canfield Local Schools superintendent; and Nils P. Johnson, president of the Canfield Rotary — praised the library. It opened in late January.

“What a wonderful structure and a great resource in our community,” Geordan exclaimed.

Favorable responses from the community to the new branch have been overwhelming, library Executive Director Heidi Daniel reported. “We’re very grateful for that,” she said.

The Canfield Branch is usually the second- or third-busiest in the branch system, Daniel said. Austintown the busiest, with Boardman and Canfield “usually fighting it out for the second spot,” she said.

Because she lives in Canfield, Daniel added that she knows what is “really important” to Canfield residents.

“Yes, you are busier than Poland right now,” she remarked to laughter.

Most patrons are regular visitors rather than occasional users, including a large number of young families, more so than most of the system’s branches, she continued. “What we’re finding is that young parents are incorporating the library into their daily or weekly routine now,” she said.

To date, she said, the branch has circulated 54,000 more items than the previous building all of last year. The new Canfield library, three times the size of the old building, has had drawn nearly 100,000 visitors since it opened.

Response to the branch has been so favorable that when she tried to sign her son up for the branch’s Lego Mindstorms program, she was informed there was a waiting list.

“ ‘Can’t you talk to someone about that,’ ” Daniel’s son implored her.

“ ‘No, I’m sorry,’ ” she responded.

Pictured: Bernie Kosar Sr., mayor of Canfield, and Brian Governor, chairman of the Canfield Township Board of Trustees.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.