Mercy to Acquire 63 Acres at Kent Trumbull, ‘Still Talking’ with Cafaro Co.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – A spokesman for the Cafaro Co. says the company was still in discussions with Mercy Health-Youngstown to develop a new medical campus at Enterprise Park in Howland, despite Mercy’s announcement Monday that it intends to build a similar project on land next to Kent State University at Trumbull in Champion.

“We’re still talking with them,” confirms Cafaro spokesman Joe Bell.  “All of this moves slowly in normal times and schedules have been compromised by the pandemic.”

Bell says Cafaro Co. is “very optimistic the way things are moving,” while declining to be specific.

Mercy Health announced Monday that it intends to purchase 62.88 acres just east of KSU Trumbull to build a new health-care campus that “may include the relocation of St. Joseph Warren Hospital,” according to a press release.

“It could be a variety of different things,” said Jonathon Fauvie, spokesman for Mercy Health. “We’re looking forward to sharing that with the community as it becomes available.”

He said that the sale has not closed yet and there is no timeline set for the project. The Kent State University Board of Trustees approved the sale of the land in September.

“We need to make sure that this part of Trumbull County has the access to care it needs,” Fauvie said. “All of our growth is based on the needs of the community.”

The land sale is joined by the expansion of Mercy’s partnership with Kent State Trumbull to include new practicum, clinical and internship opportunities for students in the university’s radiology and imaging science, physical therapy assistant, occupational therapy assistant and respiratory therapy associate’s degree programs, as well as the mammography certification.

“Our mission is carried out by forming strong community partnerships with institutions and organizations to help create opportunities for learning for Kent State students and to provide a well-trained workforce for the region we serve,” said Kent State president Todd Diacon. “We enjoy strong partnerships with several health care institutions across the region. This partnership with Mercy Health provides a stellar opportunity for Kent State to offer expanded learning experiences for our students in nursing and various allied health programs.”

Mercy Health confirmed in August 2018 that it was considering the 103-acre Enterprise Park site in Howland as a location for an expansion of St. Joseph’s and other medical services. 

However, in December of that year, Mercy Health announced it would put plans for the expansion on hold, citing the “economic uncertainty” surrounding General Motors’ announcement that it would close its Lordstown plant. 

Local environmental groups also opposed development at the Enterprise Park site, which sits just off state Route 46 near the Cafaro Co.’s Eastwood Complex.

Nevertheless, the proposed development has secured all of the necessary permits to begin work, Bell said. He noted that some surveying has been performed and a vacant house was torn down and the land graded.

The Kent State site sits just east of a small lake on the Trumbull Campus. According to records from the Trumbull County Auditor’s office, the site is appraised at $475,400. 

“This is something exciting,” Fauvie said. “We’re committed to Trumbull County and committed to the Youngstown area.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.