WRPA OKs $17M in Bonds for Columbiana Senior Center

VIENNA TOWNSHIP, Ohio – Ground already has been broken for a $20 million senior care center in Columbiana County in anticipation of a summer 2024 opening, the project’s developer said. 

At their meeting Wednesday morning at Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport, members of the Western Reserve Port Authority’s board of directors approved issuing and selling up to $17 million in bonds to assist with the financing of the new Inn at Old Saybrook, a 69,400-square-foot facility being constructed on County Line Road in the city of Columbiana.

Last month, the port authority entered into a cooperative agreement with the Columbiana County Port Authority to assist the project and approved authorizing execution of a term sheet and indemnity agreement for a capital lease.   

The port authority previously assisted EDM Management Inc. in Boardman, which is developing the center, with financing assistance for Briarfield Place in Boardman and The Inn at Poland Way in Poland. The three projects represent a total $47.6 million local impact, said Ed Reese, CEO of EDM Management.

The center will be the first senior facility developed in Columbiana County in more than 30 years, according to Reese. It will offer 50 units for private assisted living and another 29 memory care units, a need that has escalated in recent years. 

“It’s economic development, but it’s also meeting the needs of seniors,” Reese said. “I’m looking forward to completing this project in summer of 2024.”

The WRPA board also authorized donating a former Meridian HealthCare building at 64 Ridge Ave. in Youngstown to Mahoning Youngstown Community Action Partnership. The port authority entered into an agreement with the city of Youngstown to accept $150,000 of American Rescue Plan funds to acquire the building and donate it to MYCAP.

Initially envisioned as a community youth and entrepreneurship center, the building instead will be operated as a senior center by MYCAP, Youngstown officials said last week. Under Ohio law, port authorities are able to deal directly with a developer for a property and are not required to put a piece of property out for public bid, giving them greater control over determining the end user.

“Our nimble fingers are doing something the city could just click their fingers and do,” Anthony Trevena, WRPA’s executive director, said.

The WRPA board members heard from Youngstown 4th Ward Councilman Mike Ray about the port authority’s collaboration with the city on Mahoning Avenue. It acquired a former auto parts store property on the corridor that was acquired by Voyager Specialty Coffee & Teas in Canfield, which is renovating the buildings to house its manufacturing and distribution operation and opening a coffee shop.

The port authority also acquired the former Clark Bar and Sweet Arrangements and is marketing those properties, and has accepted ARP funds for other projects. Last Saturday’s Fall Fest called attention to improvements and increased activity along the corridor.  

Using an organization like the port authority “that can seek proposals and find the right use” means a property isn’t just put on the market and anything is put there, according to Ray.

“We’re able to cultivate and bring something that benefits the neighborhood,” he said. “It just goes to show what a little bit of investment and organization like this can do to catalyze and keep that corridor going.”

“What we’re doing here is working,” said Martin Loney, WRPA chairman. “It just shows what we can actually do as a community.”

Col. Mike Maloney, standing, the new commander of the 910th Airlift Wing at Youngstown Air Reserve Station, speaks during Wednesday’s meeting.

The port authority board also heard from Col. Mike Maloney, the new commander of the 910th Airlift Wing at Youngstown Air Reserve Station, who provided updates on the new entry gate project for the base and the eight C-130-J planes that were designated for the base.

Bids are out and a contract will be selected Sept. 29 for the new YARS gate, just before an Oct. 1 deadline for the funding, Maloney said. Admitting he was nervous that the decision might not be made in time, he said he was assured that it would be. Earlier estimated at just under $9 million, inflation and other factors have increased that to just under $13 million.

The port authority assisted with acquiring the property for the upgraded gate. A groundbreaking for the project is expected this fall, Maloney said.

The colonel also reported that an official announcement is “imminent” for designation of the eight new planes, which Maloney said he expects to begin arriving in April. The Air Force secretary has designated YARS as the “preferred alternative” for the planes but must still draft a memo officially awarding the planes to the base.  

“We are expecting that official announcement to be imminent,” he said. “Let me just tell you how confident I am: I’ve already got orders cut for pilots to be retrained in that new C-130-J.”

Pictured at top: Ed Reese, CEO of EDM Management, which is developing the $20 million senior care center in Columbiana County.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.