Twenty organizations and their projects in Mahoning Valley have been funded from the state budget, from parks and museums to educational programs.
“These are great quality of life projects that not only benefit local residents, but also the local residents who are attracted to these projects,” State Assemblyman Michael O’Brien, D-Warren, said.
He is part of the Valley Legislative Delegation, which includes the state legislature. 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 totaling $2.5 million. Among them:
• Mosquito Lake State Park received $404,000. Mosquito Lake Park at the corner of West Main Street and McCleary Jacoby Road in Cortland, adjacent to Hillside Cemetery, will be expanded to include a new restroom, lawn for picnic tables, and pathways connecting existing pathways. This area is often used as an informal access point for boating and lake viewing. In summer it is also a popular spot for canoeing, kayaking and windsurfing.
This is the first phase of improvements at the park, to which the City of Cortland is contributing $96,000. Cortland will spend $4,000 annually on maintenance and electricity after the project is complete.
Future phases could include paving the existing gravel car park; Providing a heater for the forthcoming toilet that would allow it to be used in winter; and the expansion of recreation trails to Eastlake Metropark, where a wildlife educational center is planned, as well as restrooms, an outdoor amphitheater and an area for festivals. These phases will likely cost an additional $3 million.
“We just want to be good stewards of these funds,” said Cortland Mayor Deidre Petrosky. “So the next time we ask about future improvements, we have a good chance if the funding becomes available. All of this is good for the larger 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, noted Petrosky. When these people come, she wants downtown to be improved for them.
Petrosky said the planned improvements could open the doors to future opportunities for the park. The area was skipped for the addition of a storybook walk as there was no access to restrooms. Although the walk still ended 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 disused are being renovated to become part of the Niles Greenway cycle path. One is on Robbins Avenue and the other is on Main Street. Niles is working 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 great asset to the City of Niles,” said Mayor Steve Mientkiewicz.
The bridges are owned by CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern, said Zachary Svette, executive director of Trumbull County MetroParks, meaning the county still has to conduct negotiations before the project can begin. The project is scheduled to start in late 2023 or early 2024.
Because of the location of the bridges, Svette said they will be good links between Niles and Warren.
These organizations in Trumbull County were also funded:
• BRITE Energy Innovators, $500,000.
• West Farmington Park, $200,000.
• The Mecca Township Recreation Center, $100,000.
• Trumbull County Farming 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 their library.
“In the wake of the pandemic, we are seeing a resurgence of the desire to define who we are as a community.” said Lepore-Hagan. “I always push to support our artists whenever I can. We have these great gifts in our church that we need to lift.”
Twelve projects in Mahoning County received funding totaling nearly $15 million:
• DeYor Performing Arts Center at Youngstown, $600,000. The funds will go toward the first part of a $3 million renovation that includes a new roof for the center and accessible restrooms and an elevator for the Adler Art Academy.
The Board is currently working on a plan to raise the additional funds, so no construction date has been set yet.
DeYor wants to be able to rent the Adler Art Academy but first wants to make changes to make it accessible, said JoAnn Stock, chief development officer for Stambaugh Auditorium and the DeYor Performing Arts Center. After completing the necessary renovation work, Adler will be used as an art incubator. Tenants can use it as a studio and rehearsal room, offices and maker space.
Under the funding proposal, Adler Art Academy will equip artists, art entrepreneurs and arts organizations with the skills, tools and business environment needed to succeed.
According to Stock, the need for a roof renewal is great, because inside the center there was water damage due to multiple leaks in the roof.
“The preservation of this historic building makes a decisive contribution to the artistic and cultural fabric of the city center”, said Stock. “This is a treasure for 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 to people with physical disabilities. This includes rear access with an elevator that reaches all four floors and the roof of the facility, updating the facility’s operating systems, and adding new community building and exhibition spaces.
“This is important because we are working towards an inclusive future,” Executive Director Marvin Logan Jr. said. “Our explorers are becoming the future of STEM.”
Construction on these projects is expected to begin in the fall, according to a press release from OH WOW! — Note that this is a “Great win for Voltage Valley and STEM education.”
• The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, $300,000. The Butler will expand the gallery space for its new media and electronic art division, The Bermant Gallery, with a multi-story glass front through which the art can be viewed by passers-by and passing cars.
This is a 30-foot by 40-foot expansion of the Beecher Center for large format art that will cost Development Director Rebecca Davis a total of $3.4 million.
In December 2020, the Butler received a collection from the late art curator David Bermant. The expansion will allow more works in the collection to be displayed and will include additional storage space for the collection.
These organizations in Mahoning County also received financial support:
• 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 existing marching band.
• Polish 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 benefits and economic opportunities, $400,000.
• Youngstown State University received $10.5 million for improvements to various campus buildings.