VIENNA - The board that operates the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport voted unanimously Wednesday to approve the issuance of up to $1.075 million in bonds to finance purchase of an air cargo building on the airport property.
For at least the next six months, the building's former owner, Pillar Partners, also known as Millwood Inc., will lease the space for $6,000 a month while it makes arrangements to relocate. Airport officials said the rent will be sufficient to service the debt. After that, at least two businesses have expressed interest in leasing the space: Aviation Facilities Co., or AFCO, and Total Airport Services, Inc., both aviation service companies.
The building was owned by pallet and stretch wrap company Millwood Inc., which bought it in 2009 in a transaction that has come under scrutiny. Port authority member Scott Lewis brokered the sale at a time when the board leased airport property that made the sale possible. Lewis didn't vote on the lease. He also did not participate Wednesday in any discussion or the vote involving the purchase.
Paul Nick of the Ohio Ethics Commission on Wednesday declined to confirm whether an investigation is ongoing.
The FAA has asked the board to make efforts to get the building back for aviation purposes.
Also Wednesday, Airport Director of Aviation Dan Dickten said 14 new tenants have now moved into a newly constructed T-hangar building on the airport property, making it fully leased. Several more tenants remain on a waiting list for planned construction of a second hangar.
During the Economic Development portion of Wednesday's regular Western Reserve Port Authority meeting, the board voted to assume control of the Mahoning River Corridor Initiative, or MRCI, in an effort to use the port's powers to help facilitate development of the area's brownfield sites.
The river corridor initiative began in 2008 when the Mahoning River Corridor Mayors Association was formed. Nine municipalities along the 31-mile Mahoning River from Newton Falls in western Trumbull County to Lowellville in eastern Mahoning County contributed funding in an attempt to leverage grant money and develop new employment opportunities along the corridor.
''All the infrastructure has been along the river for years and years and years. This will allow us to get revitalized and develop the brownfields,'' said McDonald Mayor Glenn Holmes who attended Wednesday's meeting as one of the municipalities in the MRCI. ''It's all in an attempt to work together.
''It's going to be cheaper for us to work under the auspices of the port authority. Hopefully we are not going to cost them any money, but to work with them,'' Holmes said.