Sale of YDC may go through

COLUMBUS — The state might sell the Youngstown Developmental Center to the Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board for $1.

A measure introduced by the Ohio Senate was not present in the budget the Ohio House passed, but it was added back to the bill before it was handed off to Gov. John Kasich to sign Friday.

It was unknown at deadline today whether Kasich vetoed the measure.

“I think that was a horrible situation when they closed the center and the center in Montgomery County down after we fought really hard in order to keep it open. But at least now we will have a facility that still serves the needs of our community and residents with disabilities,” said Sen. Joe Schiavoni, D-Boardman.

Located on County Line Road in Austintown yards away from Trumbull County, YDC housed about 85 disabled residents. It was one of two facilities the state decided to close this year, despite protests from Schiavoni and other local law makers.

Duane Piccirilli, executive director of the Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board, said there are a lot of exciting ideas for the 35-acre campus.

He said previously the board would begin working on a plan for the campus after Kasich signed the budget.

The preliminary idea is to bring in Meridian Health Services to manage the building.

The campus was built by the state and contains several residential buildings, office buildings and a large kitchen.

It would be an ideal place to house service providers and non-profit organizations who serve people with varying disabilities, Piccirilli, Schiavoni and Larry Moliterno, executive director of Meridian, said.

“If we can bring a bunch of diverse service providers to the center to help some of the most vulnerable citizens of the Mahoning Valley, we will have made good use of the building,” Schiavoni said.

The building costs about $1 million a year to operate, which could be paid for through the rental of office and residential space from the board.

“Over the last three or four months we’ve met with directors from different non-profit organizations that help serve people with disabilities in the Mahoning Valley. The facility is large enough to serve people with disabilities, in a wide subsection — there could be job and skill training for the developmentally disabled, mental health services for veterans, those with autism,” Schiavoni said.

Meridian also would seek grants and donations for the potential new service provider hub.

rfox@tribtoday.com

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