No Longer ‘Isolationist,’ Township Trustee Says

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio – Declaring this morning that times have changed, Austintown Township Trustee Ken Carano said the township “will no longer be any kind of an isolationist” and collaborate more with neighboring communities, including Youngstown.

“We are opening our doors to everyone,” Carano, vice-chairman of the township’s board of trustees, told guests at the Good Morning, Austintown breakfast at the Austintown Branch of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County. The breakfast event was presented by the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber and sponsored by Talmer Bank and Trust and Armstrong Cable.

“We cannot isolate ourselves. For the sake of our people,” he said, the township will work with other Mahoning County communities on improving quality of life, keeping residents safe and providing “a great future.”

The township has been in discussions with political subdivisions including Boardman to talk about opportunities and “see how we can help each other,” Carano said. “It’s silly in many cases that we provide individual services when we can collectively save money and give better service for our communities,” he added.

That cooperative spirit also potentially includes working with Youngstown on projects, such as potentially developing property on North Meridian Road across from the city-owned Salt Springs Industrial Park.

On occasion, the relationship between the township and Mahoning County’s largest city can be characterized as frigid as the below-zero temperatures that greeted the Mahoning Valley this morning. Flashpoints in recent years include the city’s annexation of land at the request of B.J. Alan Co. to allow the company to move forward on a new Phantom Fireworks store and the city’s attempt to establish a joint economic development district, or JEDD, at the site of the new Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course on Route 46 in the township.

“We don’t use that word [JEDD] because it’s a dirty word in Austintown,” Carano remarked. “The fact of the matter is it is a cooperative effort. It is now time for us all to try to work with each other.”

The township, which has a population of about 40,000, he reported, is among the county’s leaders in terms of votes, income and most recently economic development, he said, citing the racino.

“Because of it, a number of different organizations from all over the country are looking at Austintown,” he said. “We’ve had a significant amount of inquiries” now that the racino has placed the township on companies; radar, he added.

Sarah Boyarko, chamber vice president of economic development, acknowledged she’s seeing an increase in inquiries about Austintown, although primarily in the retail, service and hospitality industries.

Hynes Industries Inc.’s move to Austintown last year was among the projects Boyarko highlighted during a presentation on the chamber’s 2014 economic development activities. The nearly $7 million project will result in the retention of 100 jobs and an additional 42 positions with the company, which now operates in the former Danieli Wean building on Hendricks Road.

Hynes was considering an out-of-town plant for the expansion instead of growing here. “So it was a really big win,” she noted. The project also led to needed improvements on Hendricks Road, benefiting Hynes and other users of that road.

The chamber breakfast event also included presentations by Trustee Jim Davis, Talmer Mahoning Valley President Mark Wenick and representatives of the Austintown Local Schools, along with a demonstration by the Falco Tech robotics team.

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