Mahoning County offi- cials are considering a building that once housed a fitness center as a potential new location for the county dog pound.
The county commissioners and officials of the Western Reserve Port Authority met with Gina Bricker, an assistant county prosecutor, in executive session Thursday to discuss the possible renovation and use of the vacant former Jump Stretch Fitness Center, 1230 N. Meridian Road, Austintown, as the new pound.
Under consideration is the possibility of the port authority borrowing money to buy the site, and leasing the site to the county, “which will make it more economically feasible for the county to obtain this facility,” said Atty. James Floyd, port authority chairman.
The site is now in foreclosure and will be sold in a sheriff’s sale, he said.
Dianne Fry, county dog warden, said the Meridian Road site is one of many options under consideration for a new dog pound.
Renovating and using the current 1998-vintage Meridian Road building would be much cheaper than building a new dog pound, Fry said.
The Austintown site, which consists of nearly 3.7 acres and is between Lanterman and Salt Springs roads, has convenient freeway access, she added. The building is between Interstate 680 and I-80.
Because the 8,576-square-foot former Jump Stretch building is much larger than the county’s current 4,800-square-foot pound at 589 Industrial Road in Youngstown, dogs would be housed in sizable enclosures in the new facility, and they would no longer have to be housed in the cramped cages, where they are now kept, Fry said.
Since the Meridian Road location is in a largely commercial and industrial area with few nearby residents, barking-dog noise complaints would be minimized, Fry said. “We wouldn’t be intruding on any neighborhoods,” she said.
A capital project fund for a new dog pound now contains $400,000 derived from dog adoption and licensing fees and fines for dog law violations, plus $90,470 in private donations.
The commissioners would have to decide the future of the 1970s-vintage Industrial Road building if the pound moves to Meridian, Fry added.
In other business, the county commissioners approved a three-year labor contract with four supervisors and two lawyers in the county’s Child Support Enforcement Agency that contains no pay increases.
The employees, who belong to Teamsters Local 377, had already ratified the agreement, which is retroactive to July 1, 2011, and ends June 30 this year.
The supervisors earn between $59,400 and $62,000 a year, and the lawyers are paid $66,500 and $71,500 annually.
Karen U’Halie, county human resources director, said she could not explain why the contract took so long to negotiate and ratify because she did not become the county’s HR director until last April.