Some funded projects aren’t ‘transformative’


Gov. DeWine made the rounds recently dressed as Santa Claus finally handing out the money from the Appalachian Capital Fund — funds that have been sitting in Columbus for an inordinate amount of time. The Mahoning Valley region that consisted of Ashtabula, Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties was the last region in Ohio to learn what their booty might be. The application process was daunting and the criteria to receive awards was vast. The one element the state was clear on, however, was that they only wanted project submissions that were “transformative.”

Call me a cynic, but exactly how are boat ramps and bike trails “transformative?”

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled that these lucky communities will get to make improvements but “transformative?” These four counties were represented by the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments along with the Youngstown / Warren Regional Chamber; or were they? Project sponsors were told that if they didn’t jump on board with the regional submissions, their projects wouldn’t see the light of day in Columbus. Ask Columbiana County how much of that $500 million they received. That’s right, they didn’t get a dime. Did their applications just fall out of the folder on the way to Columbus?

Most reading this will recall that there were a lot of “attaboys” distributed by the mutual admiration club members for the recently established Lake to River Economic Development group which, as it happens, will also represent the aforementioned counties.

Well, if Eastgate represents Columbiana County in the future in the same fashion as this go-around, beware Columbiana County because the tooth fairy won’t be paying you a visit. This whole process wreaked of cronyism and politics both here in the Valley as well as Columbus. How can an entire county in the heart of Appalachia with the economic circumstances it has endured get completely shut out? It just underscores that if you want something done, you have to do it yourself. Perhaps, next time, if there is one, they should just ask for a pickleball court — clearly, that will be “transformative.”




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