Local Organizations to Benefit from Capital Budget Funds

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – A new professional development center is among the local beneficiaries of funds in the state capital budget that the General Assembly approved Wednesday.

Flying High Inc. was awarded $400,000 for the proposed job-training center, which executive director Jeff Magada said he hopes to break ground on by the end of summer.

Local workforce development organizations, museums and performing arts centers are among the entities that will benefit from the state capital budget.

The Ohio General Assembly passed the $3.5 billion bill Wednesday evening, and the legislation is headed to Gov. Mike DeWine for his signature.

“I thank the General Assembly for their partnership in supporting these important projects across Ohio which will make a tremendous impact and continue job growth in our state,” DeWine said in a prepared statement following approval of the bill.

“This capital budget brings necessary funding to projects throughout our community to make the Mahoning Valley a great place to live, work and raise a family,” state Rep. Al Cutrona, R-59 Canfield, said in a news release sent before Wednesday’s vote. “This budget invests in Ohio’s future by repairing and upgrading our aging infrastructure and supporting important projects to improve education and the quality of life in the Valley.”

The proposed $750,000 job training center would be located at Kensington and Bissell avenues on the North Side, “embedded right in the neighborhoods that need placement, that need jobs the most,” Magada said.

Youngstown State University received more than $10 million for campuswide improvements to infrastructure, student safety, emergency generators and renovations to its science, technology, engineering and mathematics laboratories. 

“This funding will allow the university to continue to address our ongoing deferred maintenance needs across campus, including roofs, windows, doors and other infrastructure projects,” YSU spokesman Ron Cole said.

Also among the local beneficiaries of capital funds is Brite Energy Innovators in Warren, which is slated to receive $500,000.

The money will be used for renovations to the incubator’s building, 125 W. Market “to bring it up to date” to house its tenant companies and its partnership with Ultium Cells, ensuring that they can remain downtown and support other local businesses, Rick Stockburger, Brite president and CEO, said.

Much of the renovations will involve upgrades to technology and coworking space, as well as to enhance the workforce development work Brite does, he said.

Oh Wow! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology, would receive $600,000 once the bill is signed. The money would support the fourth phase of capital improvements now under way, Marvin Logan, executive director, said Thursday. The phase will include converting second floor space for exhibit space.

“We’re trying to raise just over $4 million to complete the entirety of the project,” Logan said. The phase includes increasing accessibility to the Oh Wow building, adding indoor and outdoor exhibit space and creating new features such as a virtual reality classroom, food science kitchen and usable rooftop space.

The $600,000 allotted to the DeYor Performing Arts Center will provide “a tremendous boost” to an upcoming $3 million capital campaign, JoAnn Stock, chief development officer, said. Funds will go toward replacement of DeYor’s roof, and installation of an elevator, and to increase access to the Adler Art Academy.

An arts incubator also is being considered as part of the project, Stock said.

The $300,000 allocated to the Butler Institute of American Art will go toward facilities expansion to create a new media and electronic art space.

The funds support the approximately $2 million expansion project the museum launched earlier this year, said Becky Davis, development director. The museum is seeking additional funds to support the expansion project, particularly since increased materials prices have added to the addition project’s cost.

The Mahoning County Agricultural Society, which runs the Canfield fair, will receive $500,000 for the new Junior Fair building at the Mahoning County fairgrounds.

The money will go toward adding a small meeting area and restrooms to the front of the building, fair board member George Roman said. Approximately 30 fairs around the county received capital budget funds, he said. 

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.