Youngstown committee approves plans for abuse, mental health facility

By David Skolnick


A $6 million 40-unit apartment complex to house those with substance-abuse and mental-health disorders will start construction next year with a 2016 opening date.

The project’s designs received approval Tuesday from the city’s design review committee, but not everyone is pleased with the plans for the building on the North Side at the site of the former Martin Luther King Elementary School.

Councilman Nate Pinkard, D-3rd, who represents that area, said several North Side residents don’t want it to be built in that part of the city because there are numerous group homes operating nearby.

“I’m the last one to discriminate against anybody, but my concern is the density of these facilities on the city’s North Side,” he said. “I’m echoing the sentiments of my constituents. I’m not real happy with this.”

Meridian Community Care, Compass Family and Community Services and the Help Hotline Crisis Center are partners on this project, said Joseph Caruso, Compass’ president and chief executive officer.

“We’re not building a group home,” he said. “We’re building a residential apartment complex for permanent supportive housing for people who are living in our county right now and are looking for affordable housing in a safe environment. I think it is the first on the city’s North Side.”

The 40-unit complex, to be called Marian Commons, will be on the northwest corner of Madison Avenue and Covington Street. The 36,417-square-foot building will be on 3.56 acres of property.

The Mahoning County Mental Health Board is buying the property from the city school district for $36,000 or the value of an appraisal, whichever is higher, Caruso said. The appraisal hasn’t occurred, he said.

The organizations will have a lease with an option to buy the property from the mental-health board, and the agencies are likely to purchase, Caruso said.

The organizations will receive a $5.8 million tax credit from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, and are seeking a $500,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services, he said.

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