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Commissioners award $2M in ARP funds

Board announces $750,000 for Campbell project

YOUNGSTOWN — Mahoning County commissioners awarded another $2 million in American Rescue Plan funds Thursday and also revealed they are giving $750,000 to a project in Campbell.

Boardman Township trustees attended the meeting to thank the commissioners for $1 million that will help pay for the $3 million Forest Lawn Sanitary Sewer Park along Market Street at the site of the current Market Street Elementary School near Midlothian Boulevard.

The funds come from the county’s $44 million in federal funds to address hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 14-acre park will be constructed on the school district-owned site after a closed elementary school is removed. It will be a project of the ABC Water District, of which Boardman, Austintown and Canfield participate in stormwater projects, said Boardman Township Administrator Jason Loree.

The project will involve removing a pipe that currently carries storm water and “day lighting” the storm water, meaning creating an area where the water drains in the open air.

It will alleviate flooding issues for 1,400 homes, Loree said. The project will be a park with a 10-foot-wide, one-third-mile walking trail around the perimeter.

Loree called it a “once-in-a-generation” project that will be the equivalent of a football field filled nine feet deep with stormwater.

“It’s a massive help to the community and water district and will make a huge difference,” Loree said.

Boardman Trustee Larry Moliterno said the project is a great example of collaboration with the Boardman Local Schools. And, he congratulated the commissioners for “figuring out how to have your fingers on the pulse of the community” so that they could find the best ways to use the money.

Commissioner David Ditzler said he’s happy a project like this can “impact so many people.”

Another $1 million was allocated Thursday to Valley Partners, an economic development organization located on Belmont Avenue in Liberty, to provide small business loans in Mahoning County in much the same way Valley Partners distributed some of the county’s CARES ACT funds last year, said Audrey Tillis, the county’s administrator and manager of the office of budget and management.

On Oct. 7, the commissioners allocated $2 million of American Rescue Plan funds to Valley Partners for a revolving loan fund to help Mahoning County businesses. Valley Partners was formerly known as the Mahoning Valley Economic Development Corp. The earlier $2 million will be loaned at a rate of up to $100,000 per loan at low interest rates for a short term, officials said.

The commissioners also said they revealed Wednesday in Campbell they would be allocating $750,000 of ARP funds to assist the city with its 12th Street Corridor Project, which will involve reduction of blight, street-scaling and assistance to small businesses, said Sarah Lown of the Western Reserve Port Authority, which is involved in the project through the Mahoning County Community Improvement Corp, which the port authority manages.

The project also may include improved access to St. John The Baptist Catholic Church, which is the only one of three Campbell Catholic churches that will remain open under a Youngstown Catholic Diocese reorganization plan.

Ditzler called Campbell “one of our core areas in Mahoning County,” adding that the project will “benefit a lot of people.”

Tillis said the commissioners will formally approve the $750,000 allocation at a later county commissioners meeting.

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