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State outlays benefit Valley

Twenty organizations and their projects in the Mahoning Valley received funding through the state’s capital budget, from parks and museums to educational programs.

“These are great quality of life projects that not only benefit residents close by, but also residents of the region who are attracted to these projects,” state Rep. Michael O’Brien, D-Warren, said.

He is among the Valley’s legislative delegation that also includes state Reps. Michele Lepore-Hagan, D-Youngstown; Al Cutrona, R-Canfield; Mike Loychik, R-Bazetta; and state Sens. Michael Rulli, R-Salem and Sandra O’Brien, R-Lenox.

Eight projects in Trumbull County received funding for a total of $2.5 million. Among them:

• Mosquito Lake State Park received $404,000. A new restroom, grass area for picnic tables and pathways connecting to existing trails will be added to Mosquito Lake Park at the corner of West Main Street and McCleary Jacoby Road in Cortland, adjacent to Hillside Cemetery. This area is commonly used as an informal access for boating and lake watching. During the summer, it is also a popular spot for canoeing, kayaking and wind surfing.

This is the first phase of improvements at the park with the city of Cortland contributing $96,000. Cortland will spend $4,000 annually on maintenance and electricity once the project is finished.

Future phases could include paving the existing gravel parking lot; providing heating to the upcoming restroom, which would allow it to be used in the winter; and expanding recreational trails to Eastlake Metropark, where a Wildlife Educational Center is planned, as well as restrooms, an outdoor amphitheater and an area to host festivals. These phases will likely cost an additional $3 million.

“We just want to be good stewards of these funds,” Cortland Mayor Deidre Petrosky said. “So, when we ask next time for future improvements, we will have a favorable chance when funding becomes available. All of this is good for the greater community.”

This project is one of the first steps in a downtown revitalization project. Mosquito Lake brings people to Cortland and this project should bring more, Petrosky noted. When those people come, she wants the downtown area to be improved for them.

Petrosky said the planned improvements could open the doors for future opportunities for the park. The area was passed over for the addition of a Storybook Walk, because there was no restroom access. Although the walk still ended up in Bazetta, Petrosky hopes the area will be a strong contender for future projects.

• The Niles Greenway Bike Path received $300,000. Two bridges, previously used for trains but now no longer in use, will be refurbished to become part of the Niles Greenway Bike Path. One is located on Robbins Avenue and the other on Main Street. Niles is partnering with the Trumbull County commissioners and Trumbull County MetroParks to repair and paint the bridges so they can be added to the bike path.

“Being able to beautify these bridges is a major win for the city of Niles,” Mayor Steve Mientkiewicz said.

The bridges are owned by CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern, Trumbull County MetroParks Executive Director Zachary Svette said, which means the county still has negotiating to do before the project can begin. The project is set to begin late 2023 or early 2024.

Because of the locations of the bridges, Svette said they will be good connectors between Niles and Warren.

These organizations in Trumbull County also received funding:

• BRITE Energy Innovators, $500,000.

• West Farmington Park, $200,000.

• The Mecca Township Recreation Center, $100,000.

• The Trumbull County Agricultural and Family Education Center, $9,000 for repairs.

• Vienna Air Heritage Park, $500,000.

• Kent State University at Trumbull, $500,000 for a roof replacement for its library.

MAHONING COUNTY

“Coming out of the pandemic, we are seeing a resurgence in wanting to define who we are as a community,” said Lepore-Hagan. “I’m always pushing to support our artists whenever I can. We have these great gifts in our community that we need to lift up.”

Twelve projects in Mahoning County received funding for a total of nearly $15 million:

• DeYor Performing Arts Center in Youngstown, $600,000. The funds will go toward the first part of a $3 million renovation, which includes a new roof for the center and handicap accessible restrooms and an elevator for the Adler Art Academy.

The board of directors is currently coming up with a plan to raise the additional funds, so a date for construction has not yet been set.

DeYor wants to be able to rent out the Adler Art Academy, but wants to make changes to make it accessible first, said JoAnn Stock, chief development officer for Stambaugh Auditorium and the DeYor Performing Arts Center. After the necessary renovations are complete, Adler will be used as an arts incubator. Renters will be able to use it as studio and rehearsal space, offices and a maker space.

The Adler Art Academy will equip artists, arts entrepreneurs and arts organizations with the skills, tools and business environment necessary to help them succeed, according to the funding proposal.

The need for a roof replacement is great, Stock noted, because the interior of the center has sustained some water damage as a result of the roof leaking several times.

“The preservation of this historic building is instrumental in the art and culture fabric of the downtown area,” Stock said. “It is a treasure to the community.”

• OH WOW! The Roger and Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science and Technology in Youngstown received $600,000. In an effort to become more inclusive, OH WOW! will use these funds to make the center more accessible for those with physical disabilities. This includes a rear access with an elevator that reaches all four floors and the roof of the facility, updating the facilities operating systems and adding new community education and exhibit space.

“This is important because we are building towards an inclusive future,” Executive Director Marvin Logan Jr. said. “Our explorers are becoming the future of STEM.”

Construction on these projects will likely begin this fall, according to a news release by OH WOW! — noting this is a “huge win for the Voltage Valley and STEM education.”

• The Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, $300,000. The Butler will be expanding gallery space for its new media and electronic art section, The Bermant Gallery, to include a multi-story glass front, through which art can be viewed by pedestrians and cars passing by.

This is a 30-foot by 40-foot expansion to Beecher Center for large-scale art, which Development Director Rebecca Davis will cost a total of $3.4 million.

In December 2020, the Butler received a collection from late art curator David Bermant. The expansion will allow more works in the collection to be on display, and will include some additional storage space for the collection.

These organizations in Mahoning County also received funding:

• Canfield Innovative Energy and Technology Workforce Training Center, $250,000.

• Heritage Manor Rehabilitation and Retirement Community, $250,000.

• Austintown Township Park, $140,000 to replace the existing band shell.

• Poland Historical Society, $25,000.

• Forest Lawn Stormwater Park, $750,000 for an environmental education pavilion in Boardman.

• Lowellville Community Literacy Workforce Training Center, $650,000.

• Mahoning County Agricultural Society, $500,000 for the Canfield Fair.

• Flying High in Youngstown, which provides worker training, housing assistance and economic opportunities, $400,000.

• Youngstown State University received $10.5 million for improvements to various campus buildings.

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