WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) - If Mercy Health builds a new hospital near the Eastwood Mall what will happen with Warren's St. Joseph Hospital? Also, what will happen to the significant amount of income taxes Mercy Health now pays to Warren?
Well, there's a solution to the taxes but the future of St. Joe's is still not clear.
The woods behind Sam's Club off Route 46 is where the Cafaro Company plans to build a new medical complex and Mercy Health a new hospital. The view in the video above provided by the Cafaros shows how Enterprise Park will stretch to Eastwood Field on wooded land, which is now Howland Township.
"This is a project where we don't want to see our neighbor hurt by the loss of a significant amount of income taxes," said Howland trustee Matthew Vansuch.
Vansuch is referring to Warren, which would lose in excess of a million dollars if Mercy Health moves from St. Joseph Hospital in Warren and relocates to Howland. Vansuch says the land would remain in Howland with Howland getting the property tax and providing the services, but Warren getting the income tax.
"It doesn't benefit us, it doesn't benefit them, and it doesn't benefit Trumbull County to be fighting over something that could have a very significant detrimental impact to one of our neighbors at to the largest city in the county," he said.
"The last thing I want to have is another ghost hospital part two in the city of Warren," said Warren City Councilman Ken MacPherson.
St. Joseph Hospital is in the Fifth Ward of Warren. MacPherson doesn't want it to become an eyesore like the old St. Joe's on Warren's northwest side, dilapidated and rundown with broke windows.
"I think we should be focusing on what we can do to work with the Mercy folks to make sure we have a definitive plan for what we're going to keep here, how we're going to grow this particular property, and do the other property," MacPherson said.
It sounds like Mercy Health does not plan to abandon the building on Eastland Avenue should it eventually build a new hospital in Howland.
Mercy Health Communications Manager Jonathon Fauvie released a statement Wednesday:
"The current Eastland Avenue site will play an integral role in our ministry as our intention is to repurpose to help further balance services such as primary care, urgent care, etc."
"You know if you look at the statement it looks like this is the throwaway like we're the old shoe and they're getting a new set of clothes," MacPherson said.
The Cafaro Company will have to first convince the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to allow construction on 16 acres of wetlands. The Army Corps of Engineers must approve it, too.