New Ohio Capital Budget Includes $15.4M for Local Projects

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The new Ohio capital budget includes $15.4 million for local projects, including upgrades to Youngstown State University, the Boardman campus of Akron Children’s Hospital, Packard Music Hall and the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center.

Local highlights of the bill were announced by state Rep. Michael O’Brien, who represents Trumbull County, and state Sen. Michael Rulli, who represents Mahoning and Columbiana counties. The bill now heads to the Ohio House of Representatives, where it will be subject to a floor vote Thursday. 

A full list of budget items, sorted by county, can be read HERE.

Mahoning County accounts for most of the local funds – $12,960,000 – awarded. Most of the funds support projects at Youngstown State University, including $750,000 for campus development, $1 million for  IT infrastructure upgrades and $2.25 million for utility upgrades. In total, the university is listed as the funding agency for $10.76 million in projects.

Other projects in the county include $400,000 for the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center, $350,000 each for Stambaugh Auditorium and Oh Wow! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology and $275,000 for The Butler Institute of American Art.

“Given this unprecedented year we have all been through, I am happy to see that many of the capital projects submitted to the General Assembly were approved for the people of the Mahoning Valley,” Rulli said in a statement. “After speaking with numerous community stakeholders over the past two years, we were finally able to get many of these projects across the finish line. Although we were not able to receive full funding for all projects submitted, I will continue to fight to make sure that our people have their voice heard in Columbus.”  

Columbiana County projects received $2,302,500, mostly to Department of Natural Resources improvements to recreation and outdoor activities, such as the Lisbon Greenway Bike Trail, Wellsville Marina, Veterans Park of Wellsville and the East Lincoln Street connector project in Salem.

The capital budget also includes $400,000 for the Global Investment Hub, “in partnership with Youngstown State, to cultivate a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation in the community,” according to Rulli. The line item in the budget says only that it is a “community project” and no information was found through a Google search or search of YSU’s website. Calls to a Youngstown State spokesman were not answered.

In Trumbull County, Brite Energy Innovators was awarded $50,000 to expand its laboratory, while Packard Music Hall and Warren Community Amphitheater were awarded $140,000 and $200,000 respectively, for upgrades. Overall, the state capital budgets approved $1,545,000 for projects in the county.

“In these challenging economic times, I am pleased my funding requests for these projects were approved,” said O’Brien said in a statement. “Trumbull County will greatly benefit from the influx of financial support to the Multi-jurisdictional Opioid Education Workforce Training and Meeting Center, the Morgan History Center Renovation, Phase Two of the Cortland Veterans Memorial Project, the Cadence Care Network Family and Community Resource Center and the Brite Energy labs expansion.”

Statewide, the $2.1 billion capital budget includes $305 million for repairs, renovations and maintenance at Ohio schools, $452 million for public colleges and universities, $280 million for local infrastructure and $171 million for economic development and cultural projects.

“The state capital budget plays a major role in making needed improvements to our hometowns while at the same time creating or supporting thousands of jobs,” said Senate President Larry Obhof. “It’s an immediate stimulus into our local economies, and I appreciate the partnership of the Speaker and the administration to get these dollars out expeditiously to communities all across the state.”

Added House Speakers Bob Cupp: “The money to be appropriated by this capital bill will make an important contribution to the work of our local communities to improve, grow and prosper. Boosting our local economies, especially during the current pandemic and economic slowdown, remains a top priority for this legislature, and I am pleased the House and Senate are working together to help achieve these goals.”

Pictured: The Ohio statehouse. Image via Alexander Smith. GNU License

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