City OKs Land Sale, Paving Way for Rescue Mission

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The city Board of Control today approved the sale of 27 vacant land parcels along Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. for $6,480 to the Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley, which intends to construct a $4.9 million facility on the site.

Initially, the plan was to construct the new building on the city’s South Side, but floodplain and access issues led the Rescue Mission board and major donors to consider a site closer to its existing location on Martin Luther King, said Lynn Wyant, the Rescue Mission’s chief development officer.

“It will accommodate more people,” Wyant said of the new building. “It will be a single floor and handicap-friendly.”

The new building would be built just north of the Rescue Mission’s current location at 962 Martin Luther King, she said. It will be larger and also feature a wing reserved for its client families, separate from individual clients, she said.

Wyant noted that the South Side location – a 17.5-acre site bordered by Erie Street, East Delason and East Warren avenues and Interstate 680 – was first compromised by a floodplain. When the building was moved toward the center of the development site, the mission realized that it was too isolated and restricted client’s access to amenities such as bus routes and health care.

“The North Side is much better for our clients because of walking distance and the bus line,” she said, citing the proximity of Mercy Health St. Elizabeth’s Youngstown campus, Catholic Charities and the VA Clinic as factors.

Thus far, the Rescue Mission has raised just more than $4.5 million of the $4.9 million needed to construct the new facility, Wyant said. However, now that the land sale is finished, the project can begin moving forward.  

“We have enough to start construction,” she said. “Our true desire is to start pushing dirt by the fall.” 

She added that several groups have expressed interest in purchasing the mission’s existing building, but there are no firm offers in place. 

The Board of Control also approved a 15-year agreement with the Raymond J. Wean Foundation for naming rights to the city’s riverfront park, now under development downtown.

Under the agreement, the Wean Foundation will pay the city $125,000 annually, which will be used by the park’s manager, JAC Management, to pay the salary of a community engagement and inclusion coordinator and to fund maintenance and upkeep.

In May, Derrick McDowell, the founder of the Youngstown Flea, was selected as the new community engagement coordinator for the park and adjacent amphitheater at a salary of $40,000 under a one-year agreement.

The Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre opened in June and has thus far attracted artists such as Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire. 

Pictured: Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley will begin work on a building to replace its current home, built as a YMCA more than a century ago.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.