AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Five years and $5 million later, what had been the old Youngstown Developmental Center in Austintown has a new purpose of providing care for those with disabilities, autism and mental health needs.
Congressman Bill Johnson took his first tour of Mahoning County Campus of Care on E. County Line Road, which is now home to a number of agencies including Flying High, Alta and Compass Family and Community Services.
“The whole operation in here provides a tremendous service to people in the area that need these services,” Johnson said.
When the county mental health board took over the 36-acre property, it sat for two years. There was no money to fix anything or make improvements. The roof needed to be repaired, and water pipes were broken in one of the buildings, flooding it. It was a daunting task to get it all ready.
“County commissioners stepped in and used some of their dollars. The agencies got on board and then we brought the port (Western Reserve Port Authority) in because that is what they do, manage properties,” said Duane Piccirilli, executive director of the Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board.
While the mental health board owns the property now, the Western Reserve Port Authority manages it.
In addition to local agencies, others like Columbus-based Boundless expanded their operations to move into the facility.
“Our partners are literally steps away. The people who come to get services here, it’s relaxing, it’s beautiful, it doesn’t feel institutional,” said Jodi Bopp, a spokesperson for Boundless.
Although directors hope to add additional services, the goal is to make the agencies self-sufficient.
“In the next five to six years, we will be turning the properties over to the tenants, so they’ll actually own the building and then we’ll just set up some kind of association,” Piccirilli said.
Until then, directors say they will continue looking for financial help from Columbus and Washington.