By Ed Runyan
Trumbull County commissioners Friday appointed Ron Klingle of Avalon Holdings Corp. to a four-year term on the Western Reserve Port Authority board.
Commissioner Dan Polivka said the process of selecting Klingle was a little unusal because so many people — six — were interested in the unpaid position.
Polivka and Commissioner Paul Heltzel said they believe the reason is because of the growing interest in the port authority and the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport, which the authority runs.
“I think part of it is the board had sort of growing pains starting out, but the port authority has really been making great strides — much of it connected to airlines,” Heltzel said.
The airport had 34,890 passengers in 2009, but it had 94,212 in 2013, thanks to Allegiant Air’s expanding its leisure destinations from Vienna to Myrtle Beach, S.C.; and St. Petersburg and Punta Gorda, Fla., in recent years.
The authority also has an economic-development team that last year helped finance the construction of the Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course in Austintown and secured a $600,000 grant for a Trumbull County brownfield study.
“I think it’s just a lot more attractive, and a lot more are coming forward,” Heltzel said.
In the spring of 2010, two of Trumbull County’s four representatives, John Masternick and Thomas Petrarca, resigned. This time, the existing board member, Richard Musick, wanted to remain in the position but got edged out by Klingle.
Polivka said that decision was “nothing against Rich,” but Polivka liked the presentation Klingle made regarding his goals for the port authority.
“It’s an opportunity to give other people in the community who want to give back to the community an opportunity to serve,” Polivka said.
Musick “did a good job, but Ronny [Klingle] showed his interest, his vision for the county, for economic development and whatnot,” Polivka said.
Polivka noted that Klingle, who also owns Avalon Golf and Country Club, expressed his interest in the position nine months ago.
A Mahoning County port authority member, Don Hanni III, said he doesn’t know Klingle, but having served with Musick the past four years, he thinks the loss of Musick is a “tragedy.”
“He’s the type of person you want on the board,” Hanni said. “He did an excellent job, and you could tell he looked out for the people, and that’s what you need.”
Musick said he was happy to serve on the board to “repay the community for the support they’ve shown me and my family for the last 25 years” of his insurance business.
Musick also is a member of the Trumbull County Planning Commission and has served on boards in Cortland and Bazetta Township.
The Trumbull commissioners reappointed port- authority chairman Scott Lynn to the board late last year, reappointed Scott Lewis in 2012, and appointed Atty. James Floyd in June 2010.