Board of Health Buys Austintown Office from WRPA for $1.1M

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio – The Mahoning County Board of Health has approved the purchase of its office building from the Western Reserve Port Authority for $1,115,400.

The move, says Mahoning County Public Health commissioner Ryan Tekac, will enable the agency to spend more on public health.

“Anything that you rent, that money goes back to an individual, somebody who isn’t you. This way, that money is instead reinvested back into public health,” he says. “Once you’ve made your payments through the bond issuance by the county, you have more money going back into the community.”

The purchase was approved unanimously by the health board, with two added stipulations: one clarifying language in the contract and the other requiring an environmental inspection of the sale prior to the sale closing. 

WRPA purchased the building at auction in late August for the same price. Other tenants in the 16,818-square-foot building include the Mahoning County Planning Commission and the Mahoning County Building Inspection Department.

“One of the benefits of being in this location is we function almost like a one-stop shop for the community, whether it’s builders or people seeking help with health,” Tekac says. “It’s one location with all the information, rather than going from building to building to building.”

John Moliterno, executive director of the port authority, said the agency is acting as a middleman for the county in acquiring the property. Because the property was sold at auction, the government couldn’t bid on it, he says.

“It’s one more way port authorities can assist governments in terms of projects. This is an important one because the board of health has been in there for so long,” he says. “We stepped in to try and assist the county to acquire a building that they thought was important to have. … Now, they simply own the building. They won’t pay rent. They’ll just have upkeep.”

WRPA’s purchase of the building is expected to close Wednesday, with the Board of Health paying the port authority next week, Tekac said at the meeting Tuesday.

The board will also be seeking bids to have the building’s parking lot sealed and striped.

Pictured: The office building at 50 Westchester Drive in Austintown, home to Mahoning County Public Health, the Mahoning County Planning Commission and the Mahoning County Building Inspection Department.

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