Mahoning County Commissioners OK Mall CRA

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — At their regular board meeting held Thursday via teleconference, the Mahoning County Commissioners voted to approve the Community Reinvestment Area agreement with Southern Park Mall in Boardman.

The commissioners met in January to consider the incentive for the mall’s DeBartolo Commons project. With their vote to approve, the CRA will provide an abatement on increased property taxes resulting from improvements to the mall, which is owned by Washington Prime Group Inc., Columbus.

The CRA is part of an incentives package that would reimburse the company $6 million for the total $30 million cost of the project. At a meeting with the Western Reserve Port Authority’s board of directors in December, Matt Jurkowitz, Washington Prime vice president of development, said the reimbursed funds only go to “nonrevenue investments and improvements,” such as the stormwater basin or environmental contamination from materials like asbestos in the old Sears building.

The project has been met with some resistance from the community. At a Boardman Township trustees meeting in December, about 15 residents voiced their opposition to the tax incentive, as well as Washington Prime’s application for creation of a community entertainment district, or CED, which would allow the company to pursue five additional liquor permits through the state for the development.

At the time of this post, Washington Prime Group hadn’t responded to a request for a statement on the vote nor to a request for the status of the project during the coronavirus pandemic.

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