Sept. 13 Groundbreaking Planned for Campus of Care Greenhouse

VIENNA TOWNSHIP, Ohio – A Sept. 13 groundbreaking is planned for a 3,000-square-foot greenhouse at the Mahoning Valley Campus of Care in Austintown.

The Western Reserve Port Authority’s board of directors Wednesday approved a $436,000 contract with United Contractors, Brookfield Township, to construct the greenhouse. The board met at Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport.

United Contractors submitted the lowest of three bids for the greenhouse, the highest of which was $471,689, Anthony Trevena, the port authority’s executive director, said. 

The project was estimated at $440,000, Randy Partika, WRPA project manager and development engineer, said. Funding for the project will be split between state capital funds and an American Rescue Plan appropriation by the Mahoning County Board of Commissioners.

The greenhouse will be operated by Flying High Inc., a workforce development not-for-profit organization focusing on individuals with a criminal background or a history of substance abuse. It will supply the Access Healthy Foods Mahoning Valley program overseen by Flying High, the onsite commercial kitchen and the Mahoning Valley Mobile Market operated by Action, a local community group.

“In all my years of being a social worker, I’ve not found a better environment to work with people and to help them see production and progress in their lives than in the garden,” Jeff Magada, Flying High’s executive director, said. 

The port authority also plans to allocate state capital funds to add solar panels to the greenhouse roof. “We want to make it a completely self-sustaining facility,” Sarah Lown, WRPA’s public finance manager, said.  

Lown also reported that the port authority, which manages the Campus of Care for Mahoning County, is in discussions with 10 different agencies that are interested in occupying the sole unoccupied building on the Austintown campus.

In other action, board members voted to increase the local match amount for a U.S. Economic Development Administration planning grant they are seeking for the south end of the airport property.

The port authority originally sought $320,000 but EDA recently informed WRPA that it could apply for additional funds so it will now seek $335,264, Trevena said. That increase required the board to approve increasing the local match from $64,000 to $67,052.80. 

Normally, the program requires a 50/50 match, but during the pandemic the local match was reduced to 20%, and EDA recently informed WRPA that the lower match would be maintained for the grant, Trevena said.

“We have not received the official award funding so it’s not a guarantee we get it,” though it appeared likely, Trevena said.   

During the board meeting, members also heard about recent events taking place at the airport, including the Fly the Ford event July 6 and 7 and the Wings-n-Wheels aircraft and vehicle show Aug. 6 and 7.

For the two days of the Wings-n-Wheels event, 4,072 attendees came through the main gate and 938 cars entered through the car gate, Bob Griffin, a board member of the Ernie Hall Aviation Museum in Vienna, which presents the event, said.

Pictured at top: Port Authority board members Sam Covelli, Marty Loney and Rich Edwards and executive director Anthony Trevena.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.