'Meshel Way' Leads to Castlo Park
By Jeremy Lydic
Workers and visitors driving to the front gate of the Castlo Industrial Park in Struthers will be reminded of one of the people who paved the way to creation of the park.
Castlo board members and community leaders gathered at the site Oct. 28 to honor Harry Meshel during the organization's first recognition awards ceremony. To recognize the retired state senator who helped acquire and develop the 120-acre park, the first 150 feet of the road leading to Castlo's front gate formerly East Liberty Street was renamed Meshel Way.
"We recognize a man whose accomplishments haven't gone unrecognized," said William Binning, Castlo board chairman and former Youngstown State University political science professor. "Harry's fingerprints are all over the state of Ohio."
The event celebrated the cooperation between business and government leaders that led to the "genesis of Castlo," Meshel said. The Castlo Community Improvement Corp. was created in 1978 as a nonprofit organization to promote the communities of Campbell, Struthers, Lowellville, Poland Township and Coitsville Township. When the steel industry retrenched, Meshel spoke with then-Gov. James Rhodes about creating an economic development program to assist Mahoning Valley communities hit hard, he recalled.
"This is where the mills had the biggest impact," Meshel said. "We suspected other areas would suffer the same kind of demoralization that we just had."
With the help of Rhodes and his aide, George Wilson, Castlo was created to seek state and federal funds to attract and retain industry. The success hinged on local government officials working together with state government "to take care of business in our community," Meshel said.
"We started with nothing except the willingness and desire of the elected officials and great public servants," he said.
Castlo board member and a Poland Township Trustee, Robert Lidle joined Binning in paying tribute to Meshel. Lidle worked in Meshel's office while he served as a state senator.
"Other than my parents, there's nobody that's had such a positive influence on my life," Lidle said.
Castlo acquired the vacant Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. Struthers Works in 1980 and converted it into the industrial park. The park has brought in 19 tenants that have created 140 jobs and some $500,000 in annual payroll, said William DeCicco, Castlo executive director. "The park is at 90% occupancy, is economically self-sufficient and is of no burden to the taxpayers," he noted.
In 1984, Aqua Ohio Inc. became the park's first tenant. The former Struthers district manager for Aqua, Ray Calcagni Sr., presented Castlo's company recognition award to Albert Sauline, Aqua division manager.
The Struthers Rotary Club was honored for providing community service projects since 1955, including some $60,000 in scholarship money, and spearheading the Mauthe Park project.
Struthers Mayor Terry Stocker presented awards to local restaurant operators Frank DiVito and Alan Donatelli of DonaVito's Italian Grille, Jon Jacubec and Eric Ryan of Fat E's Attic & Grille, and Brian Palumbo of Selah Cafe. All three restaurants are on South Bridge Street in downtown Struthers.
"They have brought so much to downtown Struthers in recent years. It's revitalized it," Stocker said. "They've created jobs and that means a lot."
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