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Upgrades almost done at Trumbull elections

WARREN — The renovation of the Trumbull County Board of Elections that was paid for with $418,000 in American Rescue Plan funds will be finished in a few days.

“We’re very excited about the changes that will allow better use of the office for not only the staff but for the public,” Stephanie Penrose, board director said. “The section of the office that was used by the public was too crowded and they had only one way to get in and out of the building. That’s all changed.”

The project started in mid-December and will be finished by Thursday. The board is having a ribbon cutting and open house at 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

The office’s main counter was replaced and moved further back to provide more space for people to vote and conduct other public business, a wall was moved to also give more space and an additional door was built so there are separate entrance and exit doors rather than just one, Penrose said.

“There was no flow for people before the renovations,” Penrose said. “It’s more of a bank type of feel to the office. We’re also able to be more safe while providing voter access. It’s more secure. Before, people could reach over the half-door and come into the offices.”

Because of the limited size for voters and one door, the board had to rent space next door the past few years for its early voting center. Early voting, which starts April 4, is returning to the board office at 2947 Youngstown Road SE.

“This project allows us to use the office as an early voting center again and still do the social distancing we need,” Penrose said. “Before, everything was crowded in the front.”

The offices of Penrose and Deputy Director Edrea Mientkiewicz have been relocated to the other side of the building — in and near where the board’s meeting room was located — and the board’s meeting room was moved to the other side and expanded.

“The voters of this county deserve a facility that enables them to participate in the process independently with dignity, safety and security at the forefront,” said Mark Alberini, board chairman. “We believe this effort accomplishes that objective.”

The work also includes new floors and ceiling improvements.

The project started in mid-December and asbestos was quickly found when the floors were being ripped out, Penrose said. That resulted in the office being closed for a week, right before Christmas time, to remove the asbestos.

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