Boardman Working Toward New Stormwater Plan

BOARDMAN, Ohio – Through the eyes of Boardman Township trustee Larry Moliterno, Jason Loree has emerged into one of the most respected township administrators in the state of Ohio, he said. 

“Any time you go to the state conference, you’ll see people coming up to Jason asking him questions,” Moliterno said at Good Morning, Boardman Oct. 25 at the Southern Park Mall. “His knowledge of the stormwater issue is incredible. He’s considered an expert around the state.”

People in business know that if Boardman has great schools, pay rates and recreational opportunities, it will always be a great place to live, Moliterno said. In addition to a new football stadium at Boardman High School and new fire station, the township is developing a stormwater plan that is coming to fruition, he added. 

That plan was driven to the forefront earlier this year after storms in late May left hundreds of properties underwater, both commercial properties and homes. 

“We’re proud of our history as the home of the first Arby’s ever in the United States,” Moliterno said. “But with an eye in the future, when they wanted to redo that Arby’s, we insisted they put stormwater, underground attention before they move ahead because we were looking out for the future of the township.”

In 2018, Boardman Local Schools started the closure of Market Street Elementary, which was a “big deal” and was due to financial crisis, said Tim Saxton, superintendent of Boardman Local Schools.

“We have four elementaries and it was one of the smaller enrollment size, so it would be easier to close because we had to put those students somewhere,” he said.

By closing Market Street Elementary, Boardman Local Schools is saving $135,000 in utilities and operations, and is able to offer better services for students, Saxton said. The school invested $400,00 toward the construction. 

Market Street Elementary students were moved to West Boulevard Elementary, Robinwood Lane Elementary School and Stadium Drive School, Saxton said. Fourth grade students were moved to Boardman Center Intermediate School. 

Market Street Elementary also had water seepage issues in the basement and was in need of a roof replacement, Saxton noted. 

Now that it’s closed, there’s better cooperation, consistency and instruction as the buildings are condensed, he added. There is also more consistency with teaching staff, easier dispersion of students between buildings and moving students into a different building allows for more exposure to the school’s music and art programs, Saxton said.

On the township’s quality of life front, the Southern Park Mall is in the midst of a reinvention following the closing of Sears a year and a half ago. For Brian Gabbert, the mall’s general manager, it was a “sad thing,” he said. 

“I grew up with Sears and went to Sears all of the time,” Gabbert said. “They weren’t moving forward and they weren’t changing with the times. You’ve got to be willing to reinvent yourself and that’s what we’re doing.” 

In September, demolition on the store began to make way for DeBartolo Commons, a roughly $30 million project that will convert the site into recreation and greenspace. The design also incorporates stormwater management, replacing the concrete parking lot with grass fields.

Gabbert wants the Southern Park Mall to be more than just a place to shop, but to be a community center, he said. It should be a place where people can come to gather with their families and feel safe and comfortable, he added. 

“What can we provide that’s an experience that you can’t get online,” Gabbert said. “It’s all about community for us. These folks are committed to Boardman.” 

The Western Reserve Transit Authority has expanded its YouRide services, which is a similar service to Uber, said Dean Harris, executive director. Through an app, riders can order single-trip rides that allows them to travel beyond the service’s fixed bus routes. 

Pictured: Boardman Township trustee Larry Moliterno said the township is working on a stormwater management plan.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.