Economic Development

WRPA to Acquire Land for New YARS Gate

HOWLAND TOWNSHIP, Ohio – The Western Reserve Port Authority has authorized its executive director to acquire 42.35 acres of land in Vienna Township for a planned new entrance to Youngstown Air Reserve Station.

The port authority has been in negotiations with Vienna resident James Alderman to purchase the land along King Graves Road, which would be used for the new $8.8 million main gate to the air base. The port authority was enlisted to purchase the land because it has greater flexibility to negotiate than the federal government. 

The negotiations have taken some time but the port authority has “come up with a number that works for both the gentleman we’re buying the property from and the port authority,” which will pass the property to the air base, said John Moliterno, WRPA executive director. He could not disclose the price but said the agreement is in the hands of attorneys. 

WRPA is using a mix of local and state money to fund the purchase, Moliterno said. Funds will come from a $250,000 state grant as well as a $100,000 forgivable loan from the Ohio Development Services Agency, which the port authority board also authorized secured at its meeting Wednesday. 

Moliterno expressed optimism about future state assistance for Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport, which shares runways with YARS. The port authority official said he recently spoke with Terry Slaybaugh, a managing director with JobsOhio, the state’s public-private economic development corporation. Slaybaugh is the former aviation director at Dayton International Airport.  

Moliterno said he is impressed that JobsOhio has committed resources and has a person on staff to work with airports in the state, especially someone who understands them. 

“He understands the industry, he understands the problems and concerns of a commercial airport like ours,” he said. “He understands the importance of keeping those active and viable.”   

The state is also offering to assist the port authority in its efforts to restore commercial service to the regional airport, he said. “Whatever assistance we get will certainly be more than we’ve been able to get,” Moliterno said. 

JobsOhio representatives were not available Wednesday to discuss what kinds of assistance might be available to assist the state’s commercial airports. At the JobsOhio public board meeting in June, agency President J.P. Nauseef identified addressing air services as one of the recurring themes he heard during his statewide listen-and-learn tour.  

“During his time as director of the Dayton International Airport, Terry Slaybaugh oversaw updates and renovations that made the Dayton region more attractive to businesses looking to invest in Ohio,” said Matt Englehart, JobsOhio spokesman. 

Slaybaugh makes “an outstanding addition” to the JobsOhio team as it develops “strategies to enhance economic development around Ohio’s airports and explore strategies to expand air service for our state,” Englehart said. 

Pictured: The Western Reserve Port Authority authorized the acquisition of 42 acres of land, a move that will allow the construction of a new front gate at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station.

Copyright 2019 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.