Property Transfer Paves Way for MYCAP Senior Center

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – A planned center on the city’s South Side will provide a space for seniors to age in place.

At a ceremony Tuesday morning, Anthony Trevena, Western Reserve Port Authority executive director, presented keys to the building at 64 Ridge Ave. to Mayor Jamael Tito Brown and Councilman Julius Oliver, 1st Ward. They, in turn, handed the keys to Sheila Triplett, chief executive officer of the Mahoning-Youngstown Community Action Partnership.

MYCAP plans to convert the building into a senior center for those with lower income. Its senior program has run out of space at MYCAP’s Fifth Avenue building.

“Our senior program just took off,” she said. “One day we had 30 seniors, and the next day we had 100.”

The agency has been talking about starting a senior center for about five years. 

“We just knew there was a better way to do this,” Triplett said. “We started talking about a senior center – started talking about a place for those very vulnerable individuals in our city who just want to socialize. They want to have a place where they can meet, where they can feel safe, where we can provide services and where they can have fun. Our seniors love to have fun.”

The new senior center will be located at 64 Ridge Ave. in Youngstown.

The new center, expected to open in summer 2024, will provide more space for people to gather and socialize, as well as for the organization to offer its programs for seniors.

MYCAP is working with Jaminet Architects to renovate the building. The first floor, which is now taken up with offices, will become a large gathering space, and the bottom floor will house staff offices. Triplett said the agency expects to learn the renovation costs soon and will seek funding from donors to pay for it.

Through a professional services agreement with the city, WRPA bought the building, formerly part of Meridian HealthCare, with $125,000 in American Rescue Plan money allocated to the city’s first ward. Another $25,000 in ARP money will also go to the project.

“This is exciting for the Western Reserve Port Authority,” Trevena said. “These projects are always near and dear and special.”

He said Oliver approached WRPA about partnering for the project.

“I want to say this building was for sale for probably an hour, and Julius called and said, ‘Hey, what are we going to do about this?’” Trevena said. 

Oliver said he initially wanted to secure the building for a youth project. 

“They always say you judge a society by the way they treat their elderly and their youth,” he said. 

While his youth project wasn’t ready to go, Oliver said he knew that both Triplett and Brown had envisioned something for seniors, and he thought the Ridge Avenue building was perfect for it.

His youth project is now moving forward with a study by the Pittsburgh-based Manchester Bidwell Corp. and the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation to determine all of the services provided for youths and by what organizations.

“I think three visions came together: my vision, the mayor’s vision, as well as the port authority’s vision,” Oliver said. “This is a great day for MYCAP and for the elderly of our city.”

Brown said the new center will allow seniors to age in place but also enable them to grow and to engage.

“This is one piece of that puzzle that we’ve been trying to put together,” he said.

Brown said it’s important to ensure that the city’s ARP funds are spent wisely.

“When we spend these dollars, we want to make sure that when we all ride by here in the next 10 to 15 years, we can all say, ‘That’s where our American Rescue Plan dollars went,’ and we know the most vulnerable were not just those with health issues but also our seniors,” he said.

Triplett said the project will also include an outdoor patio area. Meals will be served, and there will be an emergency food pantry in addition to the gathering space for programs and offices for staff who work with the older population.

MYCAP transports seniors to their building and programs.

“This means so much to them,” Triplett said of the seniors. “When I told them about the possibility, the tears in that room – we had to get the tissues out. They just want to be together.”

Pictured at top: From left are Anthony Trevena, executive director of the Western Reserve Port Authority; Youngstown Mayor Jamael Tito Brown; Sheila Triplett, chief executive officer of Mahoning-Youngstown Community Action Partnership; and Councilman Julius Oliver.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.