WRPA Transfers Land for New YARS Gate

WARRREN, Ohio — Construction of an $8.8 million main gate for Youngstown Air Reserve Station could begin in a few months, Col. Jeff Van Dootingh said.

A key step was taken Wednesday morning, when the Western Reserve Port Authority’s board of directors approved the sale of 42.35 acres of land former owned by James Alderman and Nancy Alderman to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for $210,000.

The port authority was enlisted to purchase the property when the price the Aldermans sought for the land exceeded its appraised value. The port authority paid $423,500 for the land, for which it is being reimbursed by entities including the Eastern Ohio Military Affairs Commission and the state of Ohio.

“It’s to reduce the threat to airmen,” said Van Dootingh, YARS installation commander and commander of the 910th Airlift Wing.

The existing gate, constructed in the 1950s, is 10 car lengths form the road to the front gate, leaving a line of vehicles on King Graves Road waiting to check in – and reservists vulnerable until they pull into the base.

The new entrance, which will accommodate 60 vehicles from the road to the gate, will have a state-of-the-art inspection facility and upgraded security.

“Once I get them on my side of the gate I feel pretty comfortable,” Van Dootingh said. “When they are outside they are at risk.”

The next step in the process is for the Corps of Engineers to transfer the land to the U.S. Air Force, which Van Dootingh expects to take place over the next several weeks. Then the project will be bid, a process that normally takes a couple of moths.

“We’ll have a groundbreaking ceremony and they can start work pretty much immediately,” the commander said. “It’s probably going to be late fall. But there will still be some work they can do until the spring hits.”

The overall estimated construction timetable is 18 months, said Senior Master Sgt. Bob Barko, base superintendent and community/legislative/media engagement section chief.    

The port authority also voted to accept a pair of brownfield remediation grants that the Ohio Department of Development announced last week: $500,000 to remediate a five-acre site at Castlo Industrial Park, which the port authority manages, and $315,000 for a Phase II environmental study of the 200-acre parcel in Warren Township formerly known as the BDM blast furnace site.

Cleanup of the BDM site, which is across the river from another 800 acres that also was donated to the port authority, will help improve the logistics of the site, said Sarah Lown, port authority public finance manger.

The port authority is awaiting the final instructions about how the grant funds can be used. Timelines for the project will be determined after those instructions are received, said Anthony Trevena, WRPA executive director.  

Additionally, the port authority board approved authorizing Trevena to negotiate an agreement to sell a permanent right-of-way and easement property, for $20 per linear foot, to Clean Energy Futures-Trumbull LLC, at the BDM site in Warren Township and Lordstown for the purpose of installing a pipeline that would serve the proposed Trumbull Energy Center.

Length and location of the project would be determined by survey, according to port authority documents. 

The $1.1 billion project is on hold following a vote last night by the Lordstown Village Board of Public Affairs to table a resolution that would enable the city of Warren to provide water to the site.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.