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Agreement in place for air base gate project

WARREN — The Western Reserve Port Authority last month gave its executive director the power to negotiate a property sale agreement needed to bolster security at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station.

On Wednesday, the board gave John Moliterno the power to execute the agreement.

“We’ve come to a meeting of the minds. We’re excited about it,” Moliterno said. “I think it will be good for the Alderman family, and it certainly will be good for the Air Force base. … It’s a big deal and has taken a long time to put together. It was a major acquisition and took a long time to be able to work out all of the details of it.”

The purchase is of 42.3 acres of land on Kings Graves Road in Vienna for $391,000. The land is part of about 66 acres east of an existing gate at the reserve station to state Route 193.

Fine details of the agreement, which Moliterno said are “not anything of consequence,” still need finalized.

The port authority stepped in last month to essentially bridge the gap in negotiations between property owners, James and Nancy Alderman of Vienna, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers after the sides couldn’t agree on a sale price.

Once the sale is finalized, the port authority will turn around and sell the property to the corps for what it has determined as the fair market value. State funds, including a $100,000 forgivable loan from the Ohio Development Services Agency, are being used to make up the difference between the final sale price and the corps’ appraised value.

Also Wednesday, the board gave Moliterno permission to sign the loan agreement with the state.

The land is needed to move the reserve station’s main gate to put it in line with U.S. Department of Defense specifications for road setbacks. The gate now can accommodate about 10 cars in a line off the road. The new gate will be able to accommodate about 60. It also will include a new visitor center.

The cost is $8.8 million.

Master Sgt. Bob Barko Jr., superintendent of public affairs at the 910th Airlift Wing, has said the gate will be transformative for the reserve station and will set a new standard for military construction, antiterrorism and force protection.

It also paves the way for a second gate project on state Route 193 near the former Airport Inn for commercial vehicles.

The main gate now will remain and act as a secondary entrance once the new gate is built and before the second is completed. The first project is designed and waiting for the sale to be completed before going out to bid for construction.

It’s estimated the project will take about 18 months to build and create 100 to 200 construction jobs.

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