Meeting to Focus on Road Issue Related to Possible Mercy Site

WARREN, Ohio – Trumbull County Commissioners will hold a public meeting Wednesday to discuss a “possible medical facility” on Educational Highway in Champion Township.

Representatives from the county planning commission, highway engineers office and Mercy Health are among those expected to attend the meeting, which will take place at 1:30 p.m. in the commissioners’ hearing room in the county administration building, 160 High St. 

In September 2020, the Kent State University Board of Trustees approved the sale of nearly 63 acres of land adjacent to the Kent State University at Trumbull Campus to Mercy Health. The next month, Mercy announced it intended to develop a campus there, according to a news release.   

“For more than 100 years, Mercy Health has addressed the growing needs of the Mahoning Valley and continues to evaluate ways to meet the increasing health care needs of those living in Trumbull County,” Mercy Health spokeswoman Kara Carter Franz said in an emailed statement Monday. 

“In 2020, Mercy Health, with Kent State University, announced plans to purchase and develop land adjacent to the Kent State Trumbull Campus for the development of a health care campus,” she continued. “While plans for the land are still in development, a new health care campus may include the relocation of St. Joseph Warren Hospital, as its current location remains landlocked and not able to support the expansion necessary to enhance care within Trumbull County.”

Now, nearly 17 months after KSU trustees approved the sale, Trumbull County records show the university still owns the land. A Kent State spokesman Monday said Mercy was performing due diligence on the property.

The Mercy spokeswoman’s statement did not address the status of the land transfer or what anyone from the health-care system might address Wednesday regarding the land or possible project. She said in a subsequent email late Monday afternoon that she would not have further information regarding those issues yesterday.

Wednesday’s meeting is intended to focus on Educational Highway, which provides access to the Kent Trumbull campus and Trumbull Career & Technical Center, from Mahoning Avenue, Trumbull County Commissioner Frank Fuda said. According to Fuda, the county prosecutor determined in 1958 that the roadway was a dedicated street, but the highway engineer doesn’t agree.

“The meeting is about Educational Highway, whether it’s a dedicated highway or not, and if not who’s responsible for paying for it,” Fuda said. “These are unknowns.”

The meeting was called by county Commissioner Niki Frenchko, he said.

So far, Mercy has not made any submissions to the Trumbull County Planning Commission regarding subdivision of the property or potential economic development assistance. “We have had some discussion regarding subdivision requirements,” Nicholas Coggins, the commission’s assistant director, said.

Mercy earlier announced plans to build a facility at the site of the Cafaro Co.’s proposed Enterprise Park, but paused those plans in 2018 because of economic uncertainty following the announced closing of General Motors’ Lordstown plant.

“From what I understand, we are still in discussions with Mercy, as well as other health entities interested in the Enterprise park project,” Cafaro spokesman Joe Bell said. He also said he was aware of the potential project by Kent Trumbull but didn’t have any further knowledge about the proposal or its status.

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