Transfer of former YDC property to county appears likely

By Justin Wier


Plans to transfer the former Youngstown Developmental Center property to the Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board are beginning to coalesce.

County and local officials met with representatives of the Ohio departments of administrative services and developmental disabilities Monday to discuss how to move forward.

Beginning Oct. 1, the mental-health board will be able to purchase the property at 4891 E. State Line Road from the state department of developmental disabilities for $1. The offer will stand for three years, but Executive Director Duane Piccirilli hopes to have something in place by year’s end.

The board wants to create a hub for nonprofits serving vulnerable Valley residents.

“Our goal is to have at least half of it filled this year,” he said. “We need some time to develop a plan that’s financially sound – and something that we would be happy with and the community would be happy with – before we accept the ownership of the property.”

Meridian HealthCare will manage the property. It is working closely with the mental health board to find organizations to inhabit the facility.

Larry Moliterno, Meridian’s president and CEO, said he would like firm commitments from organizations to fill about half of the facility this year, but those organizations have their own time frames for moving in given existing leases and other concerns.

Full occupancy will take about 36 months, he estimated.

The rent will cover the operating costs of about $1 million per year. The state department of developmental disabilities will continue to maintain the property until it transfers.

The extra time also will provide time to search for grant funding. Moliterno said they will need some additional funding to roll the project out. He’s looking for local donations from foundations and other sources.

There are also plans to form a steering committee made up of representatives of Meridian HealthCare, the mental-health board, the county and Austintown township, where the facility is located.

A community meeting with local residents is also in the works.

Rick Stauffer, chairman of the Austintown Township trustees, said he’s thrilled the property is in Austintown and transferring it to the mental-health board is ideal.

“That property has been used to help people ever since the beginning,” he said. “For the county to take it over and to bring in a collaboration of services that are helping people into that property would be absolutely fantastic.”