Successes Highlighted at Good Morning, Warren Event

WARREN, Ohio – A multimillion-dollar infrastructure upgrade to the Golden Triangle industrial area will go out for bid this year, Mayor Doug Franklin said Friday morning.

The infrastructure project was among several projects that received updates during the Good Morning, Warren breakfast presented by the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber at the Hippodrome downtown.

Design and engineering work on the infrastructure upgrades to the Golden Triangle area, which is in Howland Township and Warren, was paid for with a $3.3 million U.S. Economic Development administration grant awarded in 2022. Warren and Howland partnered with the Trumbull County engineering and planning departments to secure the grant.

“This is a result of our coalition actively listening to what the business owners in that triangle told us they need,” Franklin said. “It’s not only going to keep those jobs here – it’s going to give them the opportunity to expand and create more jobs in the triangle.”

Improvements to the industrial area will include addressing drainage and stormwater issues and widening roads and realigning Paige Avenue and Dana Street, he said.

“This area is extremely, extremely significant,” Franklin said. “I can’t emphasize enough that it’s the No. 1 industrial area outside the village of Lordstown in Trumbull County, with over 35 businesses and 2,000 jobs.”

The city continues to work with Kimberly-Clark Corp. on development of the former Republic Steel property, which is partially in Warren, Franklin reported. The consumer paper products manufacturer purchased 560 acres of the former steel mill property in late December from the Western Reserve Port Authority for $9.9 million with the intent of building a manufacturing plant at the site.

The city’s work with the company is on two fronts: development of a joint economic development district with the other communities that share the site and addressing flooding and utility issues in the area. “That has to happen before they can break ground, so we’re working on both of those fronts,” the mayor said.

The infrastructure issues aren’t holding up the project but do need to be solved, he said. “All of our consultants and our specialists need to come to an agreement on the solution, and then we can figure out the funding after that happens,” he said.

Other completed or upcoming projects Franklin addressed in his remarks included the recent awarding of $4.3 million in Appalachian Community Grant Program funds for the Warren waterway trial, which will feature a pedestrian bridge connecting Perkins Park to the “peninsula” property – part of which the port authority acquired for the city, which ties into the city’s downtown expansion plans. The city also recently received funding for removal of the Summit Street dam.

Additionally, the mayor reported that walls will be going up this fall on the first building in the West Warren Industrial Park, “a significant investment” in an area where the majority of properties have been vacant for more than 30 years.

The park is being developed by Sapientia Ventures, which owns The Business Journal.

“Not only will this project create jobs and generate taxes for both the city and the schools, but it will be a welcomed investment on the city’s southwest side, leading to improved roads and infrastructure improvements, as well as increased property values,” he said.

He also said the Trumbull County Historical Society has taken possession of the building where it plans to locate its proposed science fiction and fantasy museum.

Dante Capers, associate superintendent of student services, student wellness and success for Warren City Schools, speaks at Friday’s event.

Another major project taking place in the city is the $36 million Student Wellness and Recreation Center at Warren G. Harding High School that will open in August, according to Dante Capers, associate superintendent of student services, student wellness and success for Warren City Schools. 

The center’s offerings when it opens will include indoor practice facilities, a student-run bistro, varsity and junior varsity rooms for e-sports, a six-lane, 200-meter indoor running track, advanced physical training equipment and a practice and building area for the schools’ robotics teams. A two-story health and wellness wing, set to open in 2025, will offer telehealth and medical services, with a full-time nurse practitioner from Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley on hand. 

In his remarks, Capers referenced the Maasai, a strong, advanced African tribe whose members commonly greet each other by asking how the children are, with the expected response being that the children are well.

“What that represents is that in spite of all that they have been around, their greatness and their power is really grounded in the wellness and well-being of their children,” he said. 

Capers detailed the district’s academic progress in recent years, including the past academic year being the first one in 20 years that it has not had an adverse federal designation for any of its schools.

He also pointed to the high school’s improved graduation rates. Last year, 94.6% of the district’s seniors graduated, compared with 87.3% in 2019.

Additionally, he touted successes in career and college readiness. This year, 20 students earned pre-apprenticeship certificates in construction, and he is looking to expand the program into welding next year. This year’s seniors also earned 622 semester hours of college credit through the College Credit Plus program.

Other areas of focus for the district include social and emotional learning and mental and behavioral health.  

In remarks closing out the program, Guy Coviello, president and CEO of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, praised Franklin and the city as “trusted partners in economic development” and credited the schools for producing the talent that the area needs to prosper.

He also addressed the recent creation of the Lake to River Economic Development district of JobsOhio, which encompasses Trumbull, Mahoning, Columbiana and Ashtabula counties. 

Establishment of the economic development district allows the chamber to take on new roles in the community, including assembling a coalition to address priorities such as growing the population. The chamber will partner with Eastgate Regional Council of Governments to implement housing strategies and work with Goodwill Industries this fall “to implement a strategy to help marginalized individuals overcome the barriers” that prevent them from participation in the workforce.

All of these efforts are important to be successful, especially if the Lake to River regional partnership is going to be successful,” Coviello said.

Pictured at top: Warren Mayor Doug Franklin speaks at Friday’s event.

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