Mercy Health Pulls Plug on Enterprise Park Development

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Mercy Health-Youngstown will not move forward with a potential expansion project at the Cafaro Co.’s proposed Enterprise Park at Eastwood development, a Mercy spokeswoman confirmed Thursday afternoon. 

A medical campus that potentially would have included an expansion of Mercy’s St. Joseph Warren Hospital was part of plans for Enterprise Park at Eastwood. Plans for the proposed development on a 106.7-acre site in Howland adjacent to the Eastwood Mall Complex, which the Cafaro Co. also operates, were announced in 2016. 

Mercy had paused its plans for Enterprise Park in 2018, citing “economic uncertainly” locally in the wake of General Motors’ decision to cease production at its Lordstown plant.

Kara Carter Franz, Mercy Health spokeswoman, said Mercy is no longer moving forward with Enterprise Park but is evaluating plans for a project on property near the Kent State University at Trumbull campus in Champion, which the health system is considering buying. 

“Mercy Health will not be moving forward with the development of a new facility at the proposed Enterprise Park adjacent to the Eastwood Mall. Our community’s needs continue to drive our strategic growth, as we focus on providing health care when and where people need it most,” Franz said in the emailed statement. 

“As we evaluate plans for the Kent State University property, it better enables our ministry to fully meet the needs of the patients we serve in Trumbull County,” she continued.  

Subsequently reached by phone, she said she did not know when the decision had been made, nor was she sure when or if Cafaro officials had been notified of it. 

Cafaro spokesman Joe Bell, contacted to respond to Franz’ statement, said he had not been updated for some time on discussions regarding Enterprise Park. 

“We’ve been in talks with Mercy Health at some point and with other health care entities,” he said.   

In September 2020, the Kent State Board of Trustees approved selling 63 acres of land adjacent to its Trumbull Campus to Mercy but so far the deal hasn’t been completed. 

On Wednesday, the health-care organization submitted a letter to the Trumbull County Board of Commissioners related to a hearing taking place concerning Educational Highway, which provides access to Kent Trumbull and the adjacent property Mercy is considering buying as well as Trumbull Career & Technical Center.   

As Cafaro officials continue discussions with other health-care entities, the company also is working to address issues with an environmental permit that the company received for Enterprise Park in 2019, which a federal judge vacated last September.

“The judge has an issue with the way the Army Corps of Engineers granted the permit. Our legal team has looked at those objections and we’re going to work with the Corps on resubmitting that application,” Bell said.

He declined to specify a timeline for resubmitting the application.   

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.