Additional $3.5M loan eyed for Oakhill renovation

By Peter H. Milliken


Mahoning County’s chief deputy auditor is recommending the county borrow an extra $3.5 million this fall to pay for additional renovations and improvements at the county-owned Oakhill Renaissance Place.

Carol McFall told the county commissioners in a Thursday staff meeting that only $833,651 remains uncommitted from the $5 million the county initially borrowed in the bond market for renovations at Oakhill, which the county bought in 2006.

“It doesn’t take long for $833,000 to disappear,” McFall told the commissioners.

McFall also said only $68,106 remains uncommitted of the $2.9 million the county borrowed separately in a federal economic- recovery loan to install a new air-conditioning system in the former hospital. Oakhill is the former Forum Health Southside Medical Center.

The $5 million has paid for renovations to accommodate the county’s Department of Job and Family Services, Veterans’ Service Commission and recycling division, which already have moved to Oak-hill, and the county board of elections, which will move from the county’s South Side Annex to Oakhill later this summer.

Funds for roof repairs and smokestack demolition and payments on a $400,000 Ohio Department of Development loan to Oakhill’s bankrupt former owner, the Southside Community Development Corp., also have come from the initial $5 million, McFall said.

Tracie Kaglic, project manager with Olsavsky-Jaminet Architects, estimated an extra $4 million is needed for additional areas of roof replacement, fire-alarm upgrades, morgue- ventilation improvements for the county coroner’s office, additional rest-rooms in the south and east wings, and renovations to accommodate the county’s auto- title department and adult day-care center and the Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force.

The auto-title department, adult day-care center and task force still are at the South Side Annex on Market Street, which the county plans to close.

McFall said she hopes the FBI, which participates in the task force, can obtain federal funds to pay for the estimated $990,000 renovation costs for the task force.

Kaglic said her $4 million total does not include money for upgrades the county might make to Oakhill’s kitchen and cafeteria for re-establishment of a food-service operation there.

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