TJX Execs to Meet Privately with Lordstown Residents

TJX Execs to Meet Privately with Lordstown Residents

LORDSTOWN, Ohio – TJX Companies Inc. has heard residents’ concerns – and revised its plans to build a $160 million distribution center here for its HomeGoods division, which it will present tonight during two private meetings with concerned residents.

The meetings will take place at the Lordstown Village Administration Building, which the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber has rented for the evening. Accordingly, the meetings are closed to the press, says Sarah Boyarko, senior vice president for economic development.

“The company has made some adjustments and I think residents will be pleased with what they hear,” Boyarko tells The Business Journal.

“It’s another opportunity to have a conversation with residents and I look forward to a great dialog.”

Company executives will be available to reporters before the meeting, she notes. On hand will be Joe Dubord, senior vice president of distribution services for HomeGoods, and Mark Walker, senior vice president of real estate. Dubord and Walker first met with some 200 residents March 12 during a town hall meeting that at times turned rowdy.

TJX, the parent of retailers TJ Maxx, HomeGoods, and Marshalls, has selected a 290-acre site along Ellsworth Bailey Road to construct a 1.2 million square-foot distribution center for its HomeGoods brand. The project is expected to employ at least 1,000 workers – a conservative number — 150 of whom are professional positions such as finance and management, Dubord said March 12.

Residents who voiced opposition to rezoning from residential portions of the proposed site cited concerns about declining property values, noise and truck traffic.

Tonight’s meeting with residents, arranged by the chamber, will be broken into two sessions, according to Boyarko. Those who live in the modular home development across the street from the what would be the front of the project will meet with executives from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., she said. Neighbors who live behind the site will meet from 7 to 8 p.m.

Boyarko says she expects as many as 75 residents to attend the meetings.

“The company wants to hear additional suggestions to reduce their concerns,” she says.

The Lordstown Planning Commission is scheduled to meet Monday night to review the zoning change. Its recommendations would then go before village council.

Mayor Arno Hill says the meeting is by invitation only and he will not attend.

“All the company wants is to have a nice, positive meeting with the residents. I don’t know the specifics but I think what they present will address 90% of the residents’ concerns,” Hill says.

“My biggest concern is that [Trumbull County’s] unemployment rate just went up 2%,” he continues.

“How long did it take to get over the loss of steel, or the labor/management problems at GM in the 70s?” he asks. “If we chase this project away, it will take another generation to turn things around.”

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