Raymond John Wean Foundation announces plans for new home
The Wean Foundation will move from its current home on Main Avenue Southeast to the top floor of the Market Block Building in Warren. The $2.5 million project will turn the 17,000-square-foot first floor storefront into a 120-seat meeting room. An incubator for nonprofi t organizations such as the Wean Foundation will be created in the lower level.
The Raymond John Wean Foundation had a news conference Monday to display drawings and plans to be carried out by The Chesler Group of Cleveland to renovate 147 W. Market St. in Warren. Gordon Wean presented an artist rendering of the finished building.
By Ed Runyan
Raymond John Wean founded Wean Engineering in a single room in the current Huntington Bank Building at the corner of West Market Street and Main Avenue in 1929 — several months before the stock market crash that started the Great Depression.
By the end of the company’s first year, however, the enterprising Wean had expanded the business to include several rooms and seven employees.
Eventually Wean Engineering, which designed equipment used in steel mills locally and around the world, moved to a large building on North Park Avenue just north of Courthouse Square.
The company also branched into manufacturing, with a plant on North River Road in Howland Township, and an equipment company in Cleveland.
Those operations are gone now, but Wean’s spirit of innovation allowed the company to thrive for decades and create additional operations in France, England and Canada, a Wean biography says.
“Jack Wean was not only a successful businessman, he was an innovator in his field,” the biography says.
In 1971, the chairman of U.S. Steel, Edwin Gott, said Wean’s work “contributed more than any other single person to modern-day production of flat-rolled steel products.”
Now Wean’s grandson, Gordon Wean of Cleveland Heights, is president of the Wean Foundation. He said Monday at a news conference that the Raymond John Wean Foundation that his grandfather formed in 1949 wants that same entrepreneurial spirit to thrive today at another downtown building — the Market Block Building.
The conference took place inside the building to display drawings and plans to be carried out by The Chesler Group of Cleveland to renovate the building.
The Market Block Building — half a block east of the Huntington Bank Building — will become the foundation’s new home.
The $2.5 million project will turn the 17,000-square-foot first floor storefront into a 120-seat meeting room.
An incubator for nonprofit organizations like the Wean Foundation will be created in the lower level.
The foundation will move from its current home on Main Avenue Southeast to the top floor of the Market Block Building.
The foundation annually gives $4 million to nonprofit Mahoning Valley organizations to help improve the lives of local residents.
The foundation has provided the money to start up organizations, such as the Mahoning Valley Organizating Collaborative and the The Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp.
The Market Block Building, located across from the original front door of the Trumbull County Courthouse, is perhaps best known as the site of Warren’s Woolworth’s Department Store. It also housed Trumbull County’s One-Stop jobs office until several years ago.
Next door is a building being renovated by the owner of National Fire and Water Repair.
Two doors east is the future home of the Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center.
Total planned investment for the one-block area of West Market between Park and Main avenues is $7 million to $8 million, Warren Mayor Michael O’Brien said.
“One of the most important things we try to do is include and engage all residents in the decisions that impact their lives,” Gordon Wean said.
“All of the entities engage the community. Citizens decide on smaller grants. We want to build leaders — to empower people to improve the community, and I think we’re doing it, and we’re committed to do it for the long haul.”