Township begins unusual plan to spearhead land development
A township CIC will be directed by three board members.
By TIM YOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
LIBERTY -- The township is having land appraised in anticipation of buying it for development.
Although townships are prohibited by law from buying acreage for development, it can be done through the creation of a community improvement corporation, or CIC.
"We're doing things over the edge here," said Patrick J. Ungaro, township administrator.
Ungaro expects to have a three-member CIC board in place by the end of the month.
Those selected, he explained, will have a strong sense of loyalty to the township and a business background.
The township can funnel money through the CIC to buy land.
The area being appraised is north of Tibbetts-Wick Road, from state Route 193 (Belmont Avenue) to just west of state Route 11.
Ungaro has been in discussions with Girard to create a joint economic development district for mutual development.
The township will buy some land and hold options on purchasing other parcels.
With the addition of sewer and water lines, Ungaro said, the township will be able to sell the land, using the proceeds to execute the options on other properties.
Besides the availability of thousands of acres, the advantage of the area is its highway system, with Route 11 connecting to Interstate 80.
"That's the importance of the area," Ungaro said, explaining he wants to promote the sites for light industrial or commercial businesses and perhaps for a "technology park."
Ungaro wants engineering to be done on water and sewer lines for the area.
"That has to be in place. We're going to be ready for it" when funds are available for construction, he said.
The township trustees want to be aggressive in economic development and growth, Ungaro asserted.
Another advantage of a CIC is that it can be used to qualify the township for government grants that it isn't eligible for now, Ungaro said.
"With the CIC, we can almost do anything we want to do," he said.
As part of the plan, Ungaro said the township will create a water district in about two months.
The township can't get water without going through the county. With its own district, the township can work with Consumers Ohio Water Co. and other water sources such as Youngstown, Trumbull County and Girard.
The ultimate goal, he said, is to have water and sanitary sewers in every home in the township, rather than septic systems and wells.
Another area the township is interested is in the southern portion, just north of Gypsy Lane and west of Belmont.
With the construction of the state Route 711 connector that will link Interstate 680 in Youngstown with I-80 and Route 11, traffic along Belmont will double, Ungaro said.
He has been working toward creation of an industrial park in that area.