FOP Conference will attract 1,000 visitors to Valley

Mahoning County beat out Dayton to host the event.
BOARDMAN -- For the first time in its 71-year history, the Ohio State Fraternal Order of Police's annual state conference will be in the Mahoning Valley.
The state FOP attendees will convene from Saturday through Tuesday at Mr. Anthony's Banquet Center on South Avenue, where the convention's main business will be conducted Monday and Tuesday.
Conference attendees will stay at the Holiday Inn, Microtel, Fairfield, Hampton and Red Roof inns and occupy some 400 rooms.
'State FOP Day'
Mahoning County commissioners will pass a proclamation Thursday at their meeting declaring Monday as "State FOP Day," said Glenn Kountz, a Mahoning County deputy sheriff who is president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 141, and also is a 2nd District trustee for the state FOP.
He explained how the area was able to land the four-day event.
He said representatives from several local FOP lodges who went to Columbus for last year's event gave presentations on what Mahoning County and the Mahoning Valley had to offer. Suzanne Heino, administrator for the county's Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Joseph Caruso, the county's former assistant county administrator, also gave presentations.
"We went up against an offer from Dayton and we beat Dayton handily," Kountz said Tuesday.
Among the selling points was having five hotels in close proximity to the convention site.
Kountz said about 1,000 people -- 600 FOP delegates and their families -- are expected to attend the conference, which is usually held in the larger cities of Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati.
Good for the area
Kountz said this is the first time a smaller community will host the state convention.
"We believe in this area," Kountz said. "This is good for the area, and more people need to promote this area for events like this."
Various recreational activities are planned for those attending the conference, including a golf outing at Reserve Run Golf Course off Western Reserve Road.
Kountz said and there will be a car show, called Cops and Rodders, from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, that will be open to the public at Mr. Anthony's. There is a $8 registration fee per vehicle, and those interested can call Kountz for more information at (330) 716-4706.
He said all proceeds from that event goes to the local FOP's Critical Incident Response Service, which provides various services for any incident that may befall an officer or officers in or outside the line of duty.
All candidates running for state and local offices have been invited to attend a Texas-style barbecue dinner at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, he added.
Economic boost
Heino said the convention and visitors bureau estimates at least a $480,000 economic impact for the area over the four days.
She said the attendees also will be spending money patronizing businesses around Mr. Anthony's and going to the Southern Park Mall for shopping. She added there will be an FOP family picnic set up at Yellow Duck Park in Canfield on Sunday afternoon.
"We [CVB] are working hard to bring similar events like this to Mahoning County," Heino said.
Kountz thanked all the local area lodges for their help in planning and coordinating the various convention events.
The Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio Inc. is Ohio's largest law enforcement organization. Chartered in 1934, it is a nonprofit entity with a membership of more than 24,000 and close to 200 local lodges.

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