WRPA Looks to Make RG Steel Site More Accessible to Lordstown Developments

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Western Reserve Port Authority will explore securing grants for the former RG Steel site with a goal of creating access between the property and Lordstown, WRPA officials said. 

Port authority officials will meet with Eastern Regional Council of Governments representatives Wednesday afternoon to discuss a potential grant for a site plan and bridge work at the site, said John Moliterno, the port authority’s CEO, during the port authority’s June meeting Wednesday morning.

“There’s a bridge on the west side of that site that we paid little attention to when we looked at it,” Moliterno said. Having western access to the property via the bridge will “allow whatever is in that site to get into that Lordstown area” much easier. 

The site’s existing main access point is on Pine Avenue, which would require a company sited on the property that does business with one of the Lordstown companies to drive up Pine to the middle of Warren and turn left to access state Route 45. 

After reviewing the site from an aerial  perspective, WRPA staff realized the bridge would provide access to Route 45, the Ohio Turnpike and the Lordstown area in general – a hub of electric vehicle and logistics activity. 

“The more we looked at it, the more we had conversations with Eastgate about potentially doing a study with the state of Ohio,” Moliterno said. Among the issues being discussed are whether the bridge can be rehabilitated or whether it needs to be replaced. 

WRPA staff regularly meet with community partners, stakeholders and companies interested in putting facilities on the 800-plus acre site, said Anthony Trevena, the port authority’s chief operating officer. 

“The [Youngstown/Warren Regional] Chamber has brought us potential interested parties, significant parties,” he continued. While he was unable to provide further details, there is “definitely interest” in the property from local companies as well as ones outside the Mahoning Valley.  

Moliterno told the WRPA board that Eastern Gateway Community College would contract with the port authority to manage a multimillion-dollar rehabilitation of the parking deck that is part of the downtown  college’s Thomas Humphries Hall.   

WRPA and EGCC representatives will meet Wednesday with the three engineering firms that are finalists for the contract. 

During Wednesday’s meeting, Bill Lawson, executive director of the Mahoning Valley Historical Society, recognized the port authority, Eastern Gateway and contractors associated with renovating the former Harshman Building, 101 E. Boardman St., to serve as Eastern Gateway’s Health and Education Workforce Building. 

The project, one of five recipients of MVHS’s Historic Preservation Awards, received the Commercial Revitalization Award. The port authority acquired the building in 2018 with the intent to renovate it and relocate its offices there, and lease the remaining space to other entities. Eastern Gateway ended up taking up the entire building and purchased it from the port authority last year for $1.39 million. 

MVHS presented certificates to historic preservation architect Paul Hagman of RFB CoLab, Brock Builders, Declan Construction, Trevena and Art Daly, Eastern Gateway senior vice president.  

In addition to exterior work, including restoring the stone façade and replacing the building’s roof, contractors exposed elements that were covered up by previous remodeling projects, including the original art deco features, Lawson said.

“They brought back a lot of what the architect intended originally in 1920,” he said. “With this color scheme, you can still see the texture that’s involved with this cornice which goes all around the room. These are the things that really brought our attention to the project.”

Pictured: The Western Reserve Port Authority board of directors met Wednesday at Eastern Gateway Community College’s downtown Youngstown campus.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.