WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Two of Warren’s most successful businessmen have given $50,000 apiece to help create some economic development in the city.
Sam Covelli and Anthony Payiavlas said not only are they in but now they plan on calling their friends to see if they’ll give some money, too.
Doug Franklin and Dennis Blank faced off two years ago in the Warren mayor’s race — a campaign filled with criticism. Now they’re partners in the Fund for Warren’s Future.
When they approached Payiavlas, he didn’t know what to think.
“I didn’t know if I needed to call security because two great minds, but we all know there was some division a couple years ago,” Payiavlas said.
But Franklin and Blank — now a team — convinced Payiavlas and fellow businessman Sam Covelli to invest $50,000 each in their new project.
The city will also put in $50,000, giving the fund $150,000 to start.
“We know that’s not a lot of money but it can stimulate and start a lot of business activities,” Mayor Franklin said.
The fund will allow economic development to move quicker, bypassing government bureaucracy.
“We just thought we’d do some things with some seed money and, possibly, would speed things up,” Covelli said.
“This will allow us to have more flexibility and speed with some of those start-up projects,” Franklin said.
No one gave specifics on what those projects are.
“We have a clean slate when it comes to development,” Franklin said.
One example given of how the money could be spent is in marketing the Warren bike path to bring people into the city.
“With all that packaged up together, that’s why I think we’re sitting here today. We mean business and we have every intention of making something good come of this,” Payiavlas said.
Blank will administer the Fund for Warren’s Future. The goal is to raise another $200,000 to add to the $150,000 it already has.