BEAVER TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – The Mahoning County commissioners normally meet on Thursdays at 10 a.m. in their downtown Youngstown meeting room. But this Thursday’s meeting was at 5 p.m. in Beaver Township. They were asked to help a group maintain a park property and approved money to maintain four bridges.

Richard Scarsella of the William Holmes McGuffey Historical Society asked the commissioners for their support in having the Ohio Department of Natural Resources take over control of Coitsville Township’s McGuffey Wildlife Preserve. It is part of Mill Creek MetroParks. It was a request the park’s board of commissioners has so far said no to.

“The park is not interested in maintaining an equal level of services with a water facility with a dock,” Scarsella said.

The commissioners have no jurisdiction over the McGuffey Preserve, but commissioner Anthony Traficanti appreciates Scarsella’s passion.

“It would be so easy if the Mill Creek Park board could somehow work something out to maintain that,” Traficanti said.

The commissioners also approved spending $3.9 million to paint and/or renovate four bridges: the Old Furnace Road bridge in Mill Creek Park, the Lowellville bridge over the Mahoning River, the Dewey Avenue bridge on Youngstown’s South Side and the Oak Street Extension bridge. About $1.5 million will come from the new tax levy passed last year to fix roads and bridges.

The commissioners also heard from Karissa Braun of Poland Township, who wants sidewalks on Spitler Road.

“I mean, people are going like 50 down that road. Reduce the speed limit, get us sidewalks, something. I’m just asking for a little bit here,” Braun said.

Traficanti also talked about holding more meetings away from downtown.

“So I think next year we’re going to really pick this up a lot more and start taking our meetings out on the road,” Traficanti said.

“I think it’s great that they come out to the citizens. I’d like to see a little more participation from the local residents, that kind of thing,” said Eric Tabor, a Beaver Township trustee.

The commissioners also supported a resolution from the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office to work with the sheriff’s department to use American Rescue Plan money to create a self-defense program that would be run out of Youngstown State.

They approved $130,000 for repairing 10 tornado sirens, five of which don’t work at all. The work should be done in the next couple of months.

Also, they approved spending money on a study to determine the future of the Jackson Milton Water District. About $8,500 will be spent on a rate study for the water district, which is owned by the county and is losing $600,000 a year. After the study is completed and analyzed, the commissioners will decide whether to sell the water district or keep it and possibly increase rates.