Franklin Targets $20 Million in Infrastructure Upgrades

WARREN, Ohio -- The city of Warren will spend $20 million through 2019 on resurfacing roads, renovating city hall, replacing sidewalks and other improvements essential to attract more companies to the city, says Mayor Doug Franklin.

“Your image is a first impression. So it's important that you put on your best face, so to speak, as a community,” he told members of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber gathered Thursday at the Hippodrome for a breakfast event.

“Ultimately you want these companies and their families to locate to your city and your Valley. It's very important for us to make sure that we're cleaning up our city and making it look as attractive as possible.”

Franklin also touched on the revitalization of downtown Warren, where several businesses have either moved or renovated their facades. Eastern Gateway Community College this fall will open its new location that will serve 200 students at the soon-to-close Mickey's Army-Navy store, while Thom Duma Fine Jewelers and Best Western are some of the businesses recently remodeled their facades, he said.

“A vital downtown is crucial to the area and economic health of the city. A healthy downtown shows the community cares...” Franklin said. “These are factors that greatly influence corporate locations and the city of Warren has worked very hard to attract several businesses in the coming years.”

Franklin praised the recent decision by Laird Technologies to bring 200 jobs, 55 of which will be newly created, to Warren (READ STORY).

“We're starting to attract new types of businesses and I think that's worth mentioning,” Franklin said. “[Laird Technologies] is a high-tech, global company that does products and services throughout the world … We knew we had to diversify our tax base in the companies that we bring to our city.”

Following Laird’s lead, international companies are also looking at sites in Trumbull County, reported Sarah Boyarko, the vice president of economic development for the Regional Chamber. Companies from Canada, Taiwan, Korea and Australia have met with the chamber in recent months, she said.

The Regional Chamber focuses on attracting business from outside the area and expanding what's already here, Boyarko explained. Among the businesses she highlighted are Ohio Star Forge, which created 20 jobs after a $20 million plant expansion and equipment upgrade, and Legacy Measurements, which are ramping up its operations in Brookfield that will bring 150 jobs.

Copyright 2014 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.
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