Port Authority Approves Contract with Trevena

VIENNA TOWNSHP, Ohio – The Western Reserve Port Authority’s newly hired director of economic development wants to see greater marketing of the economic tools the port authority has to offer, he said.

The Port Authority’s board of directors approved a 3-year contract Wednesday with Anthony Trevena for the post. Trevena, a former chief of staff to WRPA board member John Boccieri when he served in Congress, will be paid $90,000 annually.

Trevena said there needs to be a “concerted effort” to market the what port authorities can do with regard to tax savings, capital leases and “the different things in our toolbox.” He was hired by the port authority’s executive director, John Moliterno, and began work Sept. 14. He was one of two finalists for the executive director’s post this summer.

Six of the seven port authority members present at Wednesday’s meeting – Scott Lewis was absent – voted in favor of the agreement. Despite an Ohio Ethics Commission opinion that he could vote on the contract, Boccieri recused himself from the vote.

“This is going to be an easy community to be a cheerleader for,” Trevena told the board.

He said he has spent the past week meeting with the various economic development players in the community and getting up to speed on projects the port authority is engaged with.

“The thing I enjoy the most is seeing all the great, dynamic changes that have happened since I was out of town,” he aid “It’s very exciting. It makes me very happy to go to the downtown areas and see some of the things that are going on.”

Members of the port authority’s board of directors also heard from Eric Fletcher, airports manager with Allegiant Air, who offered assurances that the carrier is maintaining service at Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport, which the port authority operates.

Allegiant has provided service to leisure destinations from the Vienna Township airport since 2006. It recently began offering flights from Akron-Canton Airport and Pittsburgh International Airport, raising concerns about its intentions locally.

“We’re planning on sticking around. We’re very committed,” Fletcher told reporters after meeting in executive session with the port authority board, one of two closed sessions the board held yesterday.

Allegiant has no plans to cut existing service and is “still looking at future growth opportunities,” Fletcher said.

Despite the increased regional competition, year-to-date passenger count at Youngstown-Warren is about 8,000 ahead of last year at this time, reported Dan Dickten, director of aviation. “We may not have grown as we hoped to but we’re certainly not losing anything at this point,” he said.

“There’s a lot of interest in the region in low fares,” Fletcher said. Opportunities such as the $52 one-way fare to Orlando from Youngstown Warren are “getting people off the couch,” he added. “At fares like that you’re stimulating new vacations.”

Discussions continue regarding service to Las Vegas, an often-requested destination locally, but Fletcher said it isn’t “the right time now” for the service.

During Wednesday’s meeting, the port authority also approved transferring $75,000 into the aviation fund for exterior and interior cosmetic work to the airport terminal. Dickten said he hopes to get the exterior upgrades under way by mid-October.

The board also heard a presentation on open meetings, open records and ethics by attorney Edwin Romero of Manchester, Newman and Bennett.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.