Ohio legislation to funnel $15.2M into the Valley

Mahoning and Trumbull counties will get about $7.6 million each for community projects in a state bill that is expected to be approved by the General Assembly in the next two weeks.

Mahoning County will get funding for 19 community projects while Trumbull will get the money for 13 projects.

The $700 million One-Time Strategic Community Investment Fund bill was unveiled Monday by the Ohio Senate. The Senate Finance Committee will have hearings today and Wednesday on the bill.

The House passed its version of the bill that includes $350 million in projects on Feb. 7.

The Senate bill includes all the House projects, along with an additional $350 million the upper chamber is backing.

The money comes from unused federal COVID-19 funding and dollars not spent by the state from its general revenue fund because of the pandemic.The one-time fund provides money that might not qualify for the capital budget, said John Fortney, spokesman for the Senate majority.

After the House passed its version of the one-time funding bill in a 75-19 vote, the Senate slowed down the spending process because it wanted to incorporate the capital budget, which also funds community projects, into one bill.

The day of the House vote, Senate President Matt Huffman, R-Lima, wrote in a letter that the lower-chamber bill “did not include negotiations or discussions with members of the Senate or with the Senate president.”

But House Republicans said there was an agreement that both chambers would spend $350 million each without having to iron out the details with the other body.

Mahoning County received funding for 12 projects, totaling $4,824,650, in the House bill. With money from the Senate bill, the county is getting a total of $7,599,650 for 19 community projects.

That doesn’t include a special $10.7 million carveout from the House for Youngstown State University: $9.75 million to replace Kilcawley Center, its student center, which will cost about $40 million to $45 million in all, with $952,498 for information technology infrastructure upgrades and renovations.

The House bill included funding for higher education while the Senate one didn’t. But nothing is being removed from the House bill so that higher education funding will remain, Fortney said.

Trumbull County is faring much better under the Senate bill than it did under the one passed by the House.

The House bill called for $2,075,350 in funding for six projects. With the Senate bill included, there is money for a total of 13 projects, but the dollar amount jumps to $7,650,350.

State Sen. Sandra O’Brien, R-Lenox, who represents Trumbull County, said: “I’m absolutely delighted to help fund projects in Trumbull County. I ran for the Senate because we deserve to get more of our tax dollars back. I’ve delivered on that big time. We weren’t getting our fair share before and now we are.”

Huffman said Monday that the $700 million “gives the General Assembly an opportunity to reinvest in our communities. It gave many organizations a second chance for funding,” and “these are projects that people notice because they make a difference every day in their neighborhood.”


The seven additional projects for Mahoning County from the Senate bill are:

* $1 million for the Mahoning Valley Community School’s Community Learning Center in Youngstown.

* $501,389 for the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation in Youngstown for a building expansion.

* $459,131 for two projects at the Boys and Girls Club of Youngstown.

* $450,000 to the Mahoning Valley Regional Multi-Jurisdictional Infrastructure Initiative.

* $50,000 for the Mahoning Valley 9-11 Memorial Park in Austintown.

* $14,480 for roof repairs at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9571 in Ellsworth.

The 12 Mahoning County projects in the House bill are:

* $1.5 million for an Animal Charity of Ohio infrastructure expansion.

* $875,000 for the West Branch school district’s Regional Community Education and Wellness Training Center.

* $750,000 for the Mahoning Valley Historical Society’s new downtown Youngstown building.

* $660,000 for a Campbell access and safety project.

* $300,000 to renovate the primary runway and build additional hangars at the Salem Airpark in Goshen. The Senate bill includes another $300,000 for the project.

* $238,000 for roof work to the Youngstown Playhouse.

* $185,000 for a multi-use trail on Sheridan Road in the village of Poland.

* $103,150 for a splash pad at Mauthe Park in Struthers.

* $100,000 for the Rich Center for Autism’s Building for Tomorrow project.

* $93,500 for Organizacion Civica y Cultural Hispana American’s (OCCHA) capital campaign.

* $60,000 for a Canfield Police Department drone program.

* $60,000 for facility and program improvements to the War Vet Museum in Canfield.


The seven additional projects for Trumbull County from the state Senate are:

* $2.15 million for Cortland’s safety-service complex and training center. This project alone is more money than Trumbull received in the House bill.

* $1.5 million for the West Warren Industrial Park for traffic and fire suppression improvements.

* $1 million for the Holy Trinity Orthodox Christian Academy and Preschool in Warren.

* $300,000 for a renovation project at John F. Kennedy Catholic School in Warren.

* $175,000 for a Hubbard sewer project.

* $100,000 for a Liberty fire and emergency medical services project.

* $100,000 for renovations at Victory Christian School in Niles.

The six projects in the House bill are:

* $500,000 for renovations to Eastwood Field in Niles.

* $350,000 to construct a community outdoor pavilion in downtown Cortland, which will host the Cortland Street Fair and food truck event.

* $345,000 for a Bloomfield regional emergency medical services building to serve northwest Trumbull County.

* $330,350 to protect the water quality at Mosquito Lake State Park.

* $300,000 for infrastructure improvements at Camp Sugarbush in Kinsman.

* $250,000 to improve the Trumbull County Fair’s grandstand by replacing windows, repairing concrete and upgrading lighting. The Senate bill adds another $250,000 for the work.

Have an interesting story? Contact David Skolnick by email at dskolnick@vindy.com. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter, @dskolnick.


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