Mahoning Approves Development Agreement with Port Authority

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Mahoning County commissioners entered into an agreement empowering the Western Reserve Port Authority to receive, rehabilitate and market county-owned properties.

The agreement is similar to ones the port authority has with the cities of Warren and Youngstown.

“It’s a general memorandum of understanding that enables us to take abandoned or underutilized properties, make improvements to them and bring them back into productive use on behalf of the county,” Sarah Lown, WRPA’s public finance manager, said after the commissioners’ meeting Thursday morning. “It enables us to be more rapid in our response for property acquisition and negotiations and conduct those things that port authorities can do but general units of government cannot.”

The port authority serves as Mahoning County’s economic development arm, Commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti said.

“What we’re trying to do is build on the economic development in Mahoning County,” she said. “That would mean more jobs for the residents here.”

Lown declined to specify individual properties that the county was interested in transferring to the port authority but said she expected such transfers to take place sometime in 2023.

Properties the port authority accepted and put back into use under the existing agreements with the two cities include the former Warren Scope Senior Center, where CharBenay’s Wine on the River now operates, and the former Mickey’s Army-Navy store building in downtown Warren, which houses several commercial and institutional tenants.

Also, Voyager Specialty Coffee & Teas took over two buildings on Mahoning Avenue in Youngstown for a manufacturing and distribution center and coffee house.

Copyright 2023 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.