YSU Would Receive $10.7M Under Ohio House Bill

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Youngstown State University would receive $10.7 million under legislation passed by the Ohio House of Representatives.

House Bill 2, passed Wednesday, includes half of the $700 million from the Strategic Community Investments Fund, funding that was set aside in the recent state operating budget. The Ohio Senate has not yet allocated its half of the funds. 

The legislation was co-sponsored and drafted by state Rep. Al Cutrona of Canfield, R-58th.

“I am proud to sponsor this legislation to ensure that we are building a brighter Ohio,” Cutrona said.

From the funds allocated for YSU, $9.7 million would be used for a new student center, and $952,498 would support IT infrastructure upgrades and renovations. 

Last year, the Zoldan family pledged $5 million for the new student center, which was to be called the Zoldan Family Student Center. But earlier this month, Bruce Zoldan, owner of Phantom Fireworks, suspended the donation until 60 days after new YSU President Bill Johnson is no longer president and university trustees agree to a transparent presidential search.

During a meeting with YSU’s Student Experience leadership team last month, Johnson and his wife, LeeAnn, announced a pledge of $100,000 toward the new center. 

“My goal this General Assembly was to bring back state dollars to communities throughout the state of Ohio, especially in areas of the state that are often overlooked,” Cutrona said.

A number of other local entities would also receive funds through the legislation:

Mahoning County

  • $1,500,000 to expand kennel, education and training facilities for Animal Charity of Ohio.
  • $875,000 to build the new West Branch Regional Community Education and Wellness Training Center.
  • $750,000 to construct a new facility and preserve buildings for the Mahoning Valley Historical Society.
  • $660,000 to construct a new access road in the city of Campbell.
  • $300,000 for the Salem Airpark to support improvements.
  • $238,000 for the Youngstown Playhouse to support roof enhancements and repair.
  • $185,000 for the village of Poland to support the Sheridan Road Multi-Use trail.
  • $103,150 to construct a new splash pad at Mauthe Park in Struthers.
  • $100,000 to renovate the Rich Center for Autism building.
  • $93,500 to establish multiple programs at the Organizacion Civica Cultural Hispana Americana.
  • $60,000 to implement a new drone program for the Canfield Police Department.
  • $60,000 to renovate the War Vet Museum in Canfield.

“I’m really proud to have successfully secured state investment for a record amount of projects in this district in recent years,” said state Rep. Lauren McNally of Youngstown, D-59th.

Trumbull County

  • $500,000 for Eastwood Field in Niles for renovations.
  • $350,000 to construct a community outdoor pavilion in downtown Cortland.
  • $345,000 to establish a new EMS building to better serve northwest Trumbull County.
  • $330,350 to protect the water quality at Mosquito Lake State Park.
  • $300,000 for Camp Sugarbush in Kinsman to make infrastructure improvements.
  • $250,000 to rejuvenate the Trumbull County Grandstand by replacing windows, repairing concrete and upgrading lighting.

“It is vital to our local economies that we continue to dedicate resources to projects that are responsible for providing safety, education and entertainment,” said state Rep. Mike Loychik of Bazetta, R-65th. “When we invest in the communities we live, work and play in, everyone thrives.”

Columbiana County

  • $2,900,000 for the construction of a new Columbiana County Drug Task Force building.
  • $500,000 for construction at Seven Ranges Scout Reservation.
  • $250,000 for Hanover Township to support fire and emergency medical services and its EMS expansion initiative.
  • $175,000 to restore the historic Lepper Library.

“From keeping our community safe to investing in our facilities and strengthening our workforce, this one-time funding will strengthen our region and the rest of Ohio for generations to come,” said state Rep. Monica Robb Blasdel of Columbiana, R-79th. 

In addition to local investments, House Bill 2 also includes additional statewide capital investments of:

  • $600 million for the School Building Program Assistance Fund.
  • $400 million for the Public Works Commission Local Public Infrastructure and State Capital Improvement Program.
  • $397.6 million for higher education projects around the state.
  • $250 million for local jail construction across Ohio.

The legislation now heads to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.