Warren-Trumbull CIC to Clear Land Near Former Kmart Distribution Center

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Warren-Trumbull County Community Improvement Corp. plans to clear 16 acres of land adjacent to the former Kmart Distribution Center once its executive committee reviews what appears to be the best bid for the work.

HK Logging & Lumber, Middlefield, proposed paying the CIC $41,000 to timber the Bazetta property. The property is on North Park Avenue behind the former Kmart Distribution Center, which Industrial Commercial Properties, Cleveland, purchased last year. 

The CIC’s board of directors met virtually Wednesday morning for its scheduled bimonthly and annual meetings. Board members voted to authorize its executive committee to approve the agreement following a review of the bid to ensure that appropriate standards will be followed and the condition of the property once the trees are cleared. 

The CIC put out a request for proposals after being approached by a company interested in acquiring the timber on the site, said board chairman Phil O’Hara. Three bids were submitted. 

Having the site cleared would make it more attractive for future development by lowering costs for potential developers, board member Nick Coggins said. 

“They look at that as an advantage that it is already timbered,” added Tom Humphries, president and CEO of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber. 

Humphries manages the CIC under a $700 contract between the CIC and the chamber that will automatically renew at the end of the year. 

During an executive session, board members discussed a request by Brite Energy Innovators to forgive $140,000 in loans made in 2016 to the incubator. 

Brite representatives did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday morning.  

The board, which is expected to take up the issue at its meeting in February,  hasn’t decided on the loan forgiveness because it is in the midst of strategic planning for the CIC, Humphries said. 

“Until we conclude our strategy, we’re not in a position to forgive those loans,” he said. 

Much of the CIC’s focus had been on the former RG Steel building up until selling it a couple years ago, O’Hara said. Now, the board is in the process of determining what direction the CIC should take.

“There are several different organizations that are doing similar things,” he said “We are trying to find our niche and what lane we want to run in.”  

Pictured: An aerial view of the former Kmart distribution center in Bazetta Township. The Warren-Trumbull CIC plans to clear 16 acres of land at an adjacent site on Park Avenue.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.