By Ed Runyan
The Western Reserve Port Authority will “absorb” the Mahoning River Corridor Initiative effective April 1, further cementing the ties between the MRCI’s economic development work in nine riverfront communities and the economic development group at the authority.
Rose Ann DeLeon, port authority executive director, announced the merger Wednesday, and the port authority board approved a transition plan that spells out the responsibilities of the parties.
Financially, the agreement requires the authority to begin paying the $2,350 monthly salary of Dan Mamula, the corridor initiative’s manager.
The initiative has raised money in the past with contributions from the nine member communities to pay Mamula’s salary, but those fees will end at the end of this month, said Glenn Holmes, mayor of McDonald, one of the member communities.
DeLeon said the initiative, which has focused mostly on remediation of former industrial sites in Lowellville, Struthers, Campbell, Youngstown, Girard, McDonald, Niles, Newton Falls and Warren, has similar goals as the port authority.
Working under the port authority structure, more can be accomplished in part because the initiative is not a corporation or government body and cannot apply for grants without a partner.
The port board also approved the sale of $1,075,000 in bonds to finance the acquisition of the former air cargo building on the western edge of the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport, which it runs, in an attempt to re-sell the building to a company working in the aeronautical industry.
Millwood Inc. owns the building, but Millwood is a shipping-products company and not involved in the aeronautics industry, even though the building is adjacent to a cargo apron on airport property constructed with $11.5 million from the Federal Aviation Administration.
Dan Dickten, the port’s director of aviation, said the Aviation Facilities Co. based in Washington, D.C., is interested in buying the building, but a second company, Airport Technical Services, also is interested.