The Mahoning Valley was a winner in more ways than one according to the Regional Chamber's office of Government Affairs.
Because of all those who voted online for the Mahoning River Corridor Initiative's Web site, ''Rollin On the River,'' the project placed first in the collaborative grant competition between EfficientGovNow and the Fund for Our Economic Future.
The Mahoning River Corridor Initiative will receive a grant of $57,451.
Another local entry in the competition, The Mahoning/Youngs-town Regional Information System, received the third highest number of votes and will receive a $120,000 grant.
In addition to online voting, the collaborative, with the support of the Wean Foundation, was able to obtain votes at local festivals, the Eastwood Mall and at neighborhood meetings.
Nine projects were nominated for the grants and three were chosen based on votes from the public. More than 13,000 votes were tallied in July, with point values assigned to each project to determine first, second and third place. Each of the three winners received the amount they requested. The second place winner was the Westshore Regional Fire District Project for Lorain and Cuyahoga Counties, which received $100,000.
The Mahoning River corridor makes up more than 39 miles of the river that runs through nine municipalities, including Girard, and portions of five townships. According to The Mahoning River Corridor Initiative, more than 40 percent of the area's population live in the corridor communities. At one time in our history, nine steel mills lined the corridor. When the steel industry died, they left behind a long list of ecological problems. The Mahoning River Corridor Initiative intends to revitalize the corridor, opening it up for business, recreational activities and development.
While all of the hopefuls vying for the grants are good projects worthy of funding, the support by members of our communities for our local projects is indicative of the confidence we have in rebuilding those wounded areas of northeast Ohio.