By danny restivo
Trumbull County officials approved a resolution that may help cultivate economic growth in Liberty.
County commissioners approved the boundaries for a community reinvestment area in the township during a Wednesday meeting.
The resolution allows the township to offer tax incentives to businesses along Belmont Avenue, from Gypsy Lane to Tibbetts-Wick Road. The incentives include 50-percent tax abatements for 10 years on commercial and residential properties with remodeling costs of $5,000 or more.
The plan awaits approval from the Ohio Department of Development’s Community Reinvestment program.
According to the development department’s website, the program is “an economic- development tool administered by municipal and county governments that provides real property-tax exemptions to businesses making investments in Ohio.”
In August, the township hired MS Consultants, a multifaceted consulting firm in Youngstown, to research a proposed community reinvestment area. The company surveyed the economic and housing conditions along Belmont Avenue and compared them to to the rest of the area.
MS Consultants concluded “the township is seeing a decrease in population, housing units, and an increase in vacancy at greater rates than the surrounding community.”
Trustees hope the abatements will spark an economic resurgence in the area.
“The economy is turning around, and now is the time to be aggressive,” said Pat Ungaro, township administrator.
Ungaro said the area is appealing to commerce because of its proximity to Interstate 80. This, along with sewer and water infrastructure, makes the township a prime location for prospective investors, he added.
Ungaro said he’s been marketing the area to several investors but did not disclose the potential buyers.
He said structures such as the MetroPlex, the former Ramada Inn and the old Kmart plaza are foreseeable locations for businesses.
The development department website lists community reinvestment areas in Lordstown, Brookfield, Niles, Warren, McDonald and Youngstown.