Canfield has wasted money on Red Gate

Canfield has wasted money on Red Gate

Following some negotiations, a land link from the city of Canfield to the Red Gate Farm property is about to be approved. The city purchased this property in 2003 for $2.3 million, and it is still not paid off – overall, a financial loser.

We still owe about $335,000 and have so far invested about $4 million (initial cost, interest and taxes). In June, city council passed a resolution authorizing the city manager to apply for a loan from OPWC of $330,000 for MS Consultants to study the design of sanitary sewer lines to the Red Gate property. The actual construction of the lines (if done), I have heard, will cost about $4,500,000. At that point we could have close to $10 million tied up in Red Gate. That is equal to a typical total city budget for one year.

Furthermore, waterlines would have to be extended to the Red Gate property at a substantial additional cost. There is no commitment from anyone to develop/build/occupy this land. Red Gate is turning into a money pit. It seems we have the cart before the horse. This could be a pipeline to nowhere.

Keep in mind that there are electrical transmissions lines across a portion of the property. No one wants to live under/near them. Would it not make more sense to get a definite commitment to develop something there, then negotiate the installation of sewer and water lines?

There are plenty of lots now available in Canfield, 52 lots in Stonebridge. The Millennium Moments (if built) will have 194 residents. Another section along Palmyra Road is now linked to the city and may be developed. If Red Gate and these other properties are developed as residential (or partial residential), where are all these people coming from? So far this year, a building permit has been issued for only one home in the city. The recent loss of GM and The Vindicator are not good signs for the area.

Another option is to cut our losses and sell Red Gate either in its entirety or piecemeal. At least, let’s stop spending money on it. Overall, so far, Red Gate has been a financial loss and a poor decision for the city to buy it. Wouldn’t these monies be better spent on flooding issues within the city?

This fall, we will elect four council members. We need people in these positions who will be fiscally responsible custodians of our tax dollars.

Frank A. Micchia, Canfield

Questions surround Enterprise Park plans

I learn with dismay that the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has certified North Eastwood LLC’s potential Enterprise Park medical campus in undeveloped Howland Township Mosquito Creek habitat that includes protected wetlands. Goodbye protection and conservation.

Let it be noted that North Eastwood LLC is the offspring of the Cafaro Co. of Niles that is widely invested in commercial properties in our region. North Eastwood is a contrivance, the designated property the woods north of Cafaro Co.’s Eastwood Mall.

I stand with citizens that lobbied against the project, including Friends of Mahoning River and the Green Party of Mahoning County. Advocates for sustaining environmental protections sponsored press releases, meetings and letters to OEPA and the Cafaro Co. Aware of percolating public unrest about the project, Cafaro hired a firm to lobby its interest to OEPA.

The company offers two concessions for the general waiver, maintaining a parcel of the property in natural state and purchase of a wetland Renewal Credit for use at another protected Mosquito Creek area. My review of the plan supposes that Enterprise Park is still a proposal, not breaking ground. The $367 million campus, if built, will include hospital, assisted living facility, medical and office buildings, medical education center, and finally, apartments and condominiums. Many hurdles face the project’s start.

Anchor tenant, Mercy Health, has to decide to invest. Mercy would move Warren St. Joseph Hospital to the new complex, a $250 million investment. Mercy showed interest early-on, then stayed that interest per the closing of Lordstown GM. For several reasons, the directors of Mercy Health might decide against moving St. Joseph. The Enterprise Park plan lacks sufficient detail. The proposed assisted-living center sounds reasonable, but existing senior facilities advertise to get residents, suggesting an abundance of apartments.

For these and other reasons, Mahoning Valley residents should pause in their endorsement of the North Eastwood/Cafaro Co. plan to commercially develop natural habitat along Mosquito Creek.

Jim Villani, Youngstown