Senate Bill Allocates Largest Dollars in Years for Valley Projects

Apr 14, 2016
The Valley is on the verge of reaping its best state capital budget allocations since at least the turn of the century, as the Ohio Senate introduced a capital bill that includes nearly $3.7 million for six community development projects and more than $2.4 million for project improvements at four of Youngstown-Warren’s most treasured arts and cultural facilities.
The Valley is on the verge of reaping its best state capital budget allocations since at least the turn of the century, as the Ohio Senate introduced a capital bill that includes nearly $3.7 million for six community development projects and more than $2.4 million for project improvements at four of Youngstown-Warren’s most treasured arts and cultural facilities. 
“We appreciate the interest that our state leaders in Columbus have shown in the Valley,” said Regional Chamber President & CEO Tom Humphries. The bill was crafted with input from Gov. John Kasich, Senate President Keith Faber, Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenberger and members of the General Assembly, including the Valley’s state delegation.
The $3.7 million awarded for economic development projects is the largest amount appropriated to Trumbull and Mahoning counties in any state capital budget this century. By comparison, the Valley received $2.5 million in the last budget in 2013-2014.
Projects include $3 million for the Mahoning Valley Innovation and Commercialization Center and $200,000 for the Youngstown Business Incubator Tech Block Building. In Trumbull County, funds ranging from $67,500-$137,984 will help with important upgrades to the Niles Waddell Park Public Swimming Pool, Trumbull County Juvenile Detention Center and the county’s First Step Recovery program.
The $2.4 million proposed for projects at Powers and Stambaugh auditoriums and the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown and Packard Music Hall in Warren far surpasses the $879,000 awarded to the Valley for arts and culture in the last budget. 
 
The Regional Chamber placed an emphasis on arts and cultural projects last year and began noticing important changes when Trumbull County physician Dr. Farid Naffah was appointed to the governor’s Ohio Arts Council and JAC Entertainment Owner and Founder Eric Ryan was appointed to the Ohio Citizens for the Arts. 
The proposed capital budget also includes $12.15 million for higher education projects at Youngstown State University and Kent State University at Trumbull.
When the Senate announced the legislation, just one community in the state’s 88 counties was mentioned in comments Speaker Rosenberger made to Dix Communications: ours. “The Mahoning Valley, I think, is one of the largest investments we probably have made in some time in that area,” he said.
A comprehensive list of projects that are awarded in the current bill include:
Community Development Projects
Mahoning Valley Innovation and Commercialization Center ($3,000,000)
Youngstown Business Incubator Tech Block Building No. 5, Phase 2, access improvement and equipment ($200,000)
Dept. of JFS Youngstown office improvements ($190,418)
Trumbull County Juvenile Detention Center ($137,984)
Trumbull County First Step Recovery Expansion in Warren ($100,000)
Niles Waddell Park Public Swimming Pool Renovation ($67,500)
Arts & Culture Projects
De-Yor Center/Powers Auditorium HVAC replacement ($1.25 million)
Butler Institute of American Art marble, masonry façade renovation, stained glass windows safety replacement and a/c installation ($500,000)
Henry H. Stambaugh Auditorium exterior renovation, masonry restoration, door repairs, LED lighting and bird deterrent ($500,000)
City of Warren’s W. D. Packard Music Hall passenger elevator installation ($200,000)
University/College Projects
As recommended by the Board of Regents
Youngstown State Academic Area Renovations and Upgrades ($3,750,000)
Youngstown State Ward Beecher Science Hall Renovations ($2,500,000)
Youngstown State Jones Hall Student Success Facility Upgrades ($2,000,000)
Youngstown State Meshel Hall renovations ($2,000,000)
Youngstown State Campus Development ($750,000)
Kent-Trumbull Main Classroom Building Roof and Fascia replacement ($1,150,000)
Kent-Salem Main Classroom Student Services Renovations ($600,000)
Kent-Ashtabula Main Classroom Building Wing B ($325,000)
Eastern Gateway Student Success Center ($1,820,0000)
Eastern Gateway, Cincinnati State, Columbus State, Marion Tech, Owens, Sinclair, and Terra State, Answering Governor Kasich’s Call to Increase Career Counseling:  ($14,400,000)
Additional Higher Education Projects Funded Include:
Kent State – East Liverpool Puritan Hall HVAC upgrades ($450,000)
Kent State – East Liverpool Puritan Hall Sanitary Improvements ($60,000)
Eastern Gateway – Ohio Appalachian Technology and Education Center ($250,000)