AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Supporters of a plan to reopen to old Youngstown Developmental Center are a big step closer to reality.
Thursday morning, Mahoning County Commissioners agreed to pay up to $75,000 to have the 35-acre site in Austintown inspected to see if any improvements or repairs are needed.
“It’s exciting. I think today symbolized that this is gonna happen,” said Duane Piccirilli, executive director of the Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board.
YDC was closed two years ago.
Since then, supporters have been working to find social service agencies interested in moving there to create a one-stop facility to help those with mental health, addiction and other issues.
“Meridian’s looking at putting outreach for veterans there. Potential’s looking at housing for some adults with autism that graduated from their school. Easter Seals is looking at adult daycare so people could drop their loved ones off and pick them up at the end of the day,” said Piccirilli.
Terri DiGennaro chairs the HELMS Foundation, which works to bring art therapy to local agencies.
“To put them all in one place, to have that cohesion between everybody, I mean, honestly, the facilities are amazing, and they just want to help,” she said.
However, there’s been very little in the way of financial help from lawmakers in Columbus, who drew fire Thursday morning from commissioners.
“It’s very important that our legislators open their hearts and their eyes and look at something that would serve the most underserved,” said Commissioner Carol Righetti.
Een without state funding, supporters insist the project will become reality, hoping to open next spring or summer.