Good Morning Niles Celebrates Growth in the Area

NILES – The Niles area was celebrated this morning at the Good Morning, Niles! breakfast of the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber. Much growth continues to happen around the Eastwood Mall Complex and the event there at the Eastwood Event Centre.

One of the driving forces behind the complex, Anthony Cafaro Jr., co-president of the Cafaro Company, said the complex is better now than it has ever been.

Cafaro shared drone footage of some of the construction projects underway, including the Meijer slated to open this spring along with a convenience store and gas station. He listed additional projects either started or slated to begin soon, among them Longhorn Steak House, Home Goods, Mission BBQ, McAlister’s Deli, Carter’s, Mudslingers and Popeye’s Chicken.

“It was amazing throughout the summer driving in each morning and seeing the number of cranes erecting steel and moving things around,” Cafaro remarked, noting it is a culmination of a lot of hard work in 2021.

“In my 25 plus years here working, I’ve never seen this much activity. So it really excited us and hopefully it excites the folks in the future who are going to be shopping here and generating those important tax revenues,” he said.

Cafaro teased more announcements coming soon and many of the projects in the planning and construction phases will celebrate grand openings in 2023, he said.

“I would venture to guess that there is nowhere else in the Mahoning Valley, maybe between Cleveland and Pittsburgh and beyond, that has experienced the amount of new business growth that we have here.”

One of the long-time tenants of the Eastwood Complex is the Mahoning Valley Scrappers baseball organization.

Jordan Taylor, general manager of the Scrappers, talked about the organization’s rebound from being forced to cancel all of the games in 2020, to a Covid-restricted initial season with the MLB Draft League in 2021.

In 2022, the team began the new amateur-pro model with players playing in the league past the draft and a renewal of the partnership with the Cleveland Guardians. The team hosted 40 home games in 2022 and was able to bring back all the promotions and giveaways people have come to expect.

In 2023 the Scrappers will celebrate its 25th anniversary season and have announced an all-inclusive package that includes tickets, food and parking.

“We are really looking forward to continuing our partnership with Major League Baseball, Cleveland Guardians, the community at large and we are presently grateful for the support we’ve received over these last handful of years and the 25 years,” Taylor said. “We’re very optimistic about the future and look forward to being part of this community for years to come.”

One of the sponsors of the Good Morning, Niles! event was Advanced Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center, which has built a new location across Niles Cortland Road from the Eastwood Mall Complex. It will celebrate with a three-day open house, Nov. 2-4.

The area around Eastwood is not the only one with plans for 2023. Mayor Steve Mientkiewicz outlined the efforts to create a comprehensive plan that will pave the way for improvements throughout the city.

The city is teaming up with MS Consultants to create the plan. It will include components of the Mahoning River Corridor plan, which Mientkiewicz said will drive more water traffic and recreation to the city, and the Active Transportation Plan to get residents outside in the community using bicycles and walking routes.

Additionally, there are plans to improve both the 422 and downtown corridors.

Niles has been awarded a $50,000 grant to improve high-speed broadband Internet for the citizens and businesses. The city also received a federal grant of $2.55 million to enhance Waddell Park.

Mientkiewicz said officials continue to look at ways to improve facilities and infrastructure.

“Why are we doing this… Why are we engaging in the comprehensive planning process? That is for future growth, future stabilization and mostly to attract and retain business in the city of Niles,” he said.

The mayor talked about some of the new businesses recently opening or in the planning stages in downtown Niles before giving Wm. Kramer & Son the Niles Business Pride Award.

Niles Councilman Jimmy Julian gave Cadence Care Network, which opened the Cadence Coffeehouse and Creperie in downtown Niles and provides job training for at-risk youth, the Niles Avenue & Main Community Spirit Award.

Sponsors of the event were Akron Children’s Hospital and On Demand Occupational Medicine, which both gave updates on their programs, as well as HD Davis CPA’s and Professional Generator Systems.

Ruth Bowdish, managing director of On Demand Occupational Medicine, spoke about the services being provided through New Day Recovery. She offered that while many in that room may never think they will need substance abuse recovery services, they should write down the telephone number anyway.

“If the day comes that you, your friends or your families ever need that help, then we’re going to be here to help you too,” Ruth Bowdish said, assuring them they also will receive services with “integrity, passion, dependability and a care that is second to none.”

Pictured at top: Drone shot of Eastwood Mall Complex courtesy of the Cafaro Co.

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