Board commits to hiring of development director

By Shelby Schroeder

HOWLAND — Amid an agenda of year-end bookkeeping by trustees was a commitment to hiring a two-county economic development director and plans to demolish two township properties.

The trustees passed a resolution during Wednesday evening’s board meeting to authorize $25,000 of the township’s money to the Western Reserve Port Authority to support the hiring of an economic development specialist for Mahoning and Trumbull counties.

Chairman Richard Clark, who will be on the search committee for the new director, said Howland is pleased to pitch in with cities in the two counties to search for, and court, an experienced development director to bring businesses to the Mahoning Valley.

“It’s not going to be someone we’re familiar with,” he said of the new director, adding that a similar position in Cleveland was filled by a native of London, England.

He said the search will span the nation and will ultimately bring about economic growth to the township if successful.

“We can’t guarantee that if there are jobs created [that] they’ll be in Howland Township,” he said. “But any development in this region will help Howland.”

Commissioners of both counties and the cities of Niles and Youngstown have agreed to commit a total of $300,000 — in a varying number of yearly terms, from one to three — to the project estimated to cost $375,000 per year by the port authority, which oversees operations at Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport in Vienna.

Township Administrator Darlene St. George concurred on the point of joint efforts by the two counties.

“In these dire economic times, we need to pull together to do what it takes,” she said.

St. George said other communities have made three-year financial commitments to the port authority, while Howland’s commitment is for only one year. Clark said the township will extend its support for additional years based on the amount of progress made in 2009 in finding a director.

After the close of the meeting, a public hearing took place on the demolition of two Nutley Avenue properties. Without opposition to tearing down the homes at 3543 and 3591 Nutley — properties deemed unlivable by the Trumbull County Board of Health — the township plans to raze the properties in the future. No date has been set.

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