MVHS Gets $1.35M to Upgrade Downtown Building

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Mahoning Valley Historical Society will begin upgrades on a downtown building it purchased last year after receiving a total of $1.35 million from the state’s biennial capital budget.

The grants, announced Tuesday, represent the largest public funding the MVHS has received “by far,” said William Lawson, director of the organization.

The MVHS will receive $750,000 from the One Time Strategic Community Investment Fund and $600,000 from the 2025-2026 state capital budget. The money will be used for exterior and interior improvements to the former IBM Building, 250 E. Federal St., which the historical society purchased last year.

The amount represents the full cost of the work, Lawson said.

The MVHS has rented storage space in the building for years. It intends to create public gallery space on the first floor of the building, Lawson said.

The historical society has not decided what the new gallery space will display.

The historical museum displays items that provide insight into the Youngstown area’s past. It is currently in negotiations to acquire a collection of memorabilia from Idora Park from Jim and Toni Amey of Canfield, who have acquired an extensive collection, Lawson said.

The MVHS currently operates the Arms Family Museum on Wick Avenue and the Tyler History Center on West Federal Street.

It bought the IBM Building, built in 1980, for $1.9 million in November. The structure is well-maintained but requires updates to its windows, roof, exterior brick surfaces, underlying steel supports and its heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

The 45,000-square-foot building is not the only one on the east end of downtown to receive a large funding amount from the state capital budget this week.

Penguin City Brewing, just two blocks away, received $700,000 for upgrades to its building. It will use the money to add a restroom in its ballroom, pave the remainder of its parking lot and add infrastructure to make it ADA-compliant, according to co-owner Aspasia Lyras Bernacki.

All of the state funding is part of the $3.5 billion House Bill 2, which was approved by the Legislature last week and signed by Gov. Mike DeWine this week. The bill was formulated to support facilities and local community infrastructure with a focus on creating jobs and growing Ohio’s economy. 

State Rep. Lauren McNally of Youngstown, D-59th, helped secure $12,705,498 for Youngstown State University in addition to $19,348,661 in funds that will be distributed to several local entities within Mahoning and Columbiana counties. Here is the complete list:

  • $2.9 million, Columbiana County Annex/Drug Task Force building.
  • $2.5 million, Utica Shale Academy improvements.
  • $1.5 million, Animal Charity of Ohio infrastructure expansion.
  • $1 million, East Palestine Village Safety Complex.
  • $1 million, Community Learning Center.
  • $875,000, West Branch Regional Community Education and Wellness Training Center in Mahoning County.
  • $750,000, Mahoning Valley Historical Society expansion and improvement.
  • $700,000, Penguin City Brewing Co. upgrade project.
  • $660,000, Campbell access and safety project.
  • $650,000, Mahoning County Veterans Center.
  • $600,000, Salem Airpark improvements.
  • $600,000, Mahoning Valley Historical Society expansion and improvement.
  • $501,389, Youngstown Area Jewish Federation building expansion.
  • $450,000, Mahoning Valley Regional Multi-Jurisdictional Infrastructure Initiative.
  • $450,000, Rich Center for Autism Building for Tomorrow.
  • $350,000, YNG Aviation Education Center.
  • $300,000, Salem City Village Green Lincoln Plaza.
  • $300,000, Marina Boat Dock Riverside renovation.
  • $300,000, Boys and Girls Clubs of Youngstown.
  • $250,000, Regional Workforce Training and Community Wellness Center.
  • $250,000, Eastern Ohio Biztown Financial Literacy & Entrepreneurship Center.
  • $250,000, Western Reserve Greenway Phase 4.
  • $250,000, Hanover Township fire and emergency medical services expansion initiative.
  • $238,000, Youngstown Playhouse roof.
  • $200,000, The Butler Institute of American Art Studio Maker Space.
  • $175,000, Lepper restoration project.
  • $185,000, Sheridan Road multi-use trail.
  • $159,131, Boys and Girls Club of Oak Hill.
  • $157,011, Little Beaver Creek Greenway Trail culvert replacement.
  • $107,000, City of Poland’s Sheridan Road multi-use trail.
  • $103,150, City of Struthers’ Mauthe Park splash pad.
  • $100,000, Rich Center for Autism’s Building for Tomorrow Phase 2.
  • $100,000, Kerestes Cliffs Park.
  • $100,000, Youngstown Playhouse upgrades.
  • $93,500, OCCHA Renovado capital campaign.
  • $60,000, Canfield Police Department drone program.
  • $60,000, War Vet Museum facility and program improvement project.
  • $60,000, Milton Township courtesy boat docks.
  • $50,000, Austintown 9-11 Memorial Park.
  • $14,480, VFW roof repairs, Ellsworth Post 9571.

Pictured at top: The former IBM Building in downtown Youngstown.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.