Port Authority to Accept $400K in City’s ARPA Funds for Projects

WARREN, Ohio – The Western Reserve Port Authority approved accepting $400,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds from the city of Youngstown for projects in the city’s 1st and 2nd wards.

The $250,000 allocation from the 2nd Ward’s $2 million allocation will be used for site remediation and other work to prepare the former McGuffey Plaza property on the East Side for future development.

In May, Councilman Jimmy Hughes, 2nd Ward, announced he would seek the $250,000 for the site, which City Council approved earlier this month. The request awaits approval by the city’s Board of Control.

The port authority, which acquired the East Side property in 2022, will oversee what Nick Chretien, WRPA’s regional planning and development manager, referred to as the McGuffey-Garland project. A Phase II environmental survey is underway at the approximately 22-acre site.

“It is our hope to potentially leverage [the ARPA funds] into more dollars as a part of the cleanup efforts,” Chretien said.

The other $150,000, which must also be approved by Youngstown City Council and the city’s Board of Control, would be to manage and oversee capital improvement projects in the city’s 1st Ward. A companion item, which also was approved by the port authority, specifically authorized WRPA to acquire a 5,000-square-foot building at 64 Ridge Ave. for $125,000 using the funds.

The building is owned by Meridian HealthCare, which has consolidated its facilities, Anthony Trevena, WRPA’s executive director, said.

If the city approves the funds, the port authority would move forward on acquisition of the building and work with Councilman Julius Oliver, 1st Ward, on redevelopment of the property, Trevena said. Discussions already are underway with nonprofit entities that are interested in operating out of the building.  

“It could be a lot of different things,” Trevena said.

The port authority acted “a bit preemptively” on the 1st Ward project, Chretien acknowledged. WRPA’s board won’t hold a July meeting, so having the resolution in place allows the port authority to move forward if council members act on the ARPA request before then.

In other business, the port authority approved acquiring a 7,200-square-foot storage building on Youngstown-Kingsville Road for $270,000. The port authority will use the building to house equipment now housed in a T-hangar building at Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport, which the port authority operates, that has “exhausted its useful life,” Trevena said.

Once the hangar building is demolished, the property would be available for new hangar construction or potentially expansion by Jets FBO, the airport’s fixed-base operator, Trevena said.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.