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Mahoning Valley Red Cross moving to Liberty



Published: Wed, January 15, 2014 @ 12:09 a.m.

By William K. Alcorn

alcorn@vindy.com

LIBERTY

The Mahoning Valley Red Cross is moving its headquarters from Warren to Liberty.

The agency’s board of directors approved the move — they hope to make it in about 60 days — late last year, said Karen Conklin, director.

Headquarters for the Mahoning Valley Chapter, a merger of the Mahoning County and Trumbull County chapters in 2010, is at 661 Mahoning Ave. NW in Warren, former headquarters of the Trumbull chapter.

Conklin, of Liberty, said the move to 4530 Belmont Ave., a rented facility, will occur when the information-technology personnel get everything set up. The search for a new headquarters to house staff, suppliers and equipment has taken more than a year, she said.

Conklin said the move has several advantages.

The move to the Belmont location will place the chapter’s headquarters at the center of its service area, and the nearby bus line will make it easier for clients to access.

Also, she said, the central location, with easy access to interstate highways, will cut down on the time for volunteers to get emergency vehicles into service.

For example, volunteers in North Lima currently have to travel to Warren to get emergency vehicles before responding to an emergency, making it difficult to meet the national on-site mandate within two hours after being contacted, Conklin said.

Further, she added, the two vehicles have diesel engines, and the new site has outside electrical capabilities so the vehicles are easier to start; and the headquarters are in a commercial area that provides 24-hour access to emergency supplies, such as water.

Also, Conklin said the Warren building also needs some repairs.

“The question was do we put money into an older building that needs repairs and is not where it needs to be, or do we move?” she said.

The Warren facility, owned by the Red Cross, will be sold.

“We will work with any potential buyer to make sure it’s a good transition for the community,” Conklin said.

Since the merger in July 2010, the full-time paid staff was reduced from 22 to four. The chapter has about 200 volunteers, and once the move is made to Liberty, Conklin believes there will be an increase in people wanting to become Red Cross volunteers.

“We re-engineered and have a lot of volunteers working. Also, we are part of the Northern Ohio Red Cross and share resources, such as marketing and IT, with Akron and Cleveland,” Conklin said.


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