Take full advantage of this economic opportunity

The Mahoning Valley is in the middle of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and we must take advantage of it.

That effort starts with the Lake to River Economic Development group.

Since Gov. Mike DeWine in April announced Lake to River — which encompasses Trumbull, Mahoning, Columbiana and Ashtabula counties — as the seventh network region of JobsOhio, the state’s private economic development corporation, excitement in the area has been off the charts and the future of the Mahoning Valley is growing brighter.

This newspaper shares that excitement as an announcement of this magnitude can only mean good things as Lake to River was formed to stimulate job creation and business growth in the region.

Organizations across the area are already seeing the agency’s value as a few have invested large sums of money into the effort.

Two weeks after DeWine’s announcement, the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments invested $100,000 in Lake to River. Executive Director Jim Kinnick said, “We wanted to be the first to show our support, and we hope the community and the business community rally behind us and Lake to River.”

On Wednesday, the Western Reserve Port Authority obliged to Kinnick’s sentiment, matching Eastgate’s investment. Anthony Trevena, port authority executive director, expressed his excitement by saying “This is an amazing opportunity for the Mahoning Valley.”

“The more we invest in our local economic base for this region, the better off we all are,” Trevena said.

Additional funding for Lake to River is coming from the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber Foundation, which has given $500,000, and $400,000 is coming from money commissioners in Trumbull and Mahoning counties committed to Valley Vision 2050, an economic development and recovery project.

The Youngstown / Warren Regional Chamber will also forward about $300,000 in fees to Lake to River for economic development services it formerly performed but have transitioned over to the new organization.

The community is providing financial support in hopes of seeing the organization succeed and lead the area into the future. Michael McGiffin, vice president of engagement and investor relations for Lake to River, told us Wednesday the community is “putting our money where our mouth is. This is a real thing. We want to see success here and are willing to fund it.”

While we don’t believe the community’s financial support is quite finished, the pieces are already in place for success. The area is putting its economic development future in the hands of Lake to River and we stress they need to deliver when the dust has settled.

We understand a ramp-up period is necessary for ventures of this nature, so results aren’t expected immediately. However, we are imploring that the Valley’s newest economic development representative take full advantage of this special opportunity and deliver for not just the Mahoning Valley, but the Lake to River region as well.


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