BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) — Two dozen Boardman residents showed up to the township trustees meeting Monday morning. Community members voiced their concerns about turning a portion of the Southern Park Mall into an entertainment area.
Tensions were high as the trustees voted unanimously to designate the mall as a Community Entertainment District.
The approval allows Washington Prime Group, which owns the mall, to continue the process of trying to acquire five additional liquor licenses.
“They still have to go through the liquor board and go through all those other motions that they have to go and maintain that themselves and we just give them the ability to do that,” said Boardman Trustee Larry Moliterno.
Community members are more concerned their questions aren’t being answered.
“Our job is to get as much information as we can to try and make the decisions that are best for the people who live in Boardman,” Moliterno said. “If you’re not sure about those things, call me and I will sit and talk with you anytime.”
Their main concern is the lack of details and not knowing what businesses will be going into the new DeBartolo Commons area. They want to know why the trustees are rushing to approve the application.
“I don’t think anyone can answer what Washington Prime is going to do at the mall and if they’re going to be successful doing it,” said Boardman resident Patricia Rose.
Moliterno said they need to start looking toward the future.
“We have to start being aggressive in our moving forward but it’s time for the Valley — and not just Boardman, the entire Valley — to take control of our future and we’re going to have to do that by embracing some of these new projects.”
“I wish I were a teenager or in my 20s again because I think there’s going to be a lot of fun things going on out there,” Rose said.
While community members still want answers about the project, some are excited to see its potential.