YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — There’s a debate taking place in Youngstown about the future of one of the South Side’s newest buildings. The company that owns it has plans to redevelop it, but others are saying the plans are not moving quickly enough.
The Bottom Dollar building on Glenwood Avenue has been vacant since the grocery store closed eight years ago. Five years ago, One Health Ohio bought the building promising to build a clinic there. But since then, nothing has been done, and people interested in renovating and upgrading the Glenwood Avenue corridor are frustrated.
Youngstown councilwoman Anita Davis and Ian Beniston, executive director of the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation, stood outside the vacant Bottom Dollar building on Glenwood Avenue frustrated that it’s still empty.
“We see this building as something that should be productively used, not sitting idle and allowed to deteriorate further,” Beniston said.
“We’re not going to go back to a Chill-Can plant part two,” Davis said. “It’s just not going to happen.”
Dr. Ronald Dwinnells is CEO of One Health Ohio, which runs 11 clinics including the Youngstown Community Health Center on Wick Avenue. One Health Ohio bought the Bottom Dollar building from the city five years ago with plans to open a comprehensive health care clinic.
He says originally transforming the Bottom Dollar store into a clinic was $3.5-4 million but COVID-19 set them back. Now it’s $5-6 million with interest rates that have more than doubled.
It’s also harder to hire medical personnel. One Health Ohio already serves around 30,000 uninsured or underinsured patients a year.
“We have looked at various ways of funding this but at this point, we don’t have all the information to be able to make a final decision,” Dwinnells said. “We don’t want to take anything away from our current operations.”
Dwinnells said he’s requested help from the city by way of American Rescue Plan money but he’s not heard back.
“No one has called me and said hey, what can we do as a community to help you?” he said.
“Like so many people, when the City of Youngstown got money, everyone’s hand came out,” Davis said.
Davis says One Health Ohio has already reneged on its deal with the city to have the clinic running in two years.
“He didn’t fulfill his commitment to the city and the city needs to do its part in taking this building back,” Davis said.
Dwinnells did say that if One Health Ohio decides not to build a clinic here, he’s not opposed to selling the building — if the numbers are right.