By JOHN MOLITERNO
Executive Director, Western Reserve Port Authority
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Western Reserve Port Authority is blessed to enter 2022 on solid footing and poised for growth as we work on economic development projects.
Our board and staff, along with partner agencies, have long sought state funding for brownfield cleanups. In 2021, those funds came through, delivering $1.5 million to Mahoning and Trumbull counties.
The port authority has used all avenues to expand the aviation industry in and around the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport. This includes acquiring property for the Youngstown Air Reserve Station to construct an $8.8 million main gate at the base.
In addition, the federal allocation of $8 million for the YARS new taxiway is the beginning of a long-range effort to diversify the airport to become a hub for more YARS opportunities and aviation advanced technology. The port authority also anticipates launching a major planning initiative to transform the regional airport’s service model.
Community development projects brought more than $2 million to the Mahoning Valley Campus of Care in Austintown. Special-needs individuals of all ages and abilities are served here in a safe and beautiful sanctuary-like environment. Efforts are on pace to complete the build-out of the Campus of Care.
The port authority supports development through its capital lease program and participated in Macy’s $39 million conversion of its distribution center in North Jackson Township into a fulfillment center.
We expect 2022 will stretch the port authority in new ways as we manage several new development projects. The largest is the former BDM Steel property –1,000 acres – that is ready for new infrastructure and development to serve the growing electric-vehicle industry.
The Mahoning County commissioners invested COVID relief funding to conduct concentrated economic development activities in Struthers and Campbell. The port authority will work with its partners to oversee these activities.
We are grateful to have many productive professional partners, including the Regional Chamber, Eastgate Regional Council of Governments and Valley Partners. Economic development takes a village, a tribe, a committee, and a little help from our friends.
We are especially gratified that many of these agencies elected to locate at the City Centre One building, creating an efficient one-stop shop for community and economic development.