BOARDMAN, Ohio (WYTV) – Plans are moving forward with the redevelopment of the Southern Park Mall in Boardman.
Thursday morning, Mahoning County commissioners heard from residents, union leaders and even tenants of the Southern Park Mall, nearly all giving their support for plans to create a “community reinvestment area” around the mall property.
Taking their weekly meeting out to Boardman, commissioners and others heard from executives of the company that owns the Southern Park Mall, Washington Prime Group, who laid out their plans for a $30 million renovation.
“Washington Prime Group will pay the full cost of the upfront project, every single dollar,” said Matt Jurkowitz, Washington Prime Group.
As part of the effort, the entire mall will be redone, including the new Debartolo Commons outdoor entertainment area, connecting to the Boardman schools to the west and Boardman Park to the east, as well as significant improvements to the stormwater system to reduce flooding like we saw last spring.
“More taxes are expected to be generated by the newly created property value — and jobs and sales … activity that are happening at our site. The community’s role in this plan is to allow the mall to keep, for a limited period of time, a portion of those new taxes only that the mall’s investment, this $30 million investment would create,” Jurkowitz said.
To permit that — so Washington Prime Group can eventually regain some of its losses — a new community reinvestment area must be created by commissioners and approved by the state.
Several in the audience, including the daughter of the mall’s original developer, Edward Debartolo, gave their support.
“I think anything that would add a plus to grow the Southern Park Mall would be beneficial to everybody in Boardman and also the surrounding areas,” said mall tenant Nancy Smith.
“They’ve been great in explaining a lot of our questions that we’ve had along the way. So I’m here to just support the project and say thank you,” said mall tenant Tim Petrie.
With the mall and surrounding businesses providing the bulk of the county’s sales tax revenues, commissioners say the proposal is one they can’t pass up.
“Washington Prime is bringing an opportunity here that I think is gonna, you know, snowball within the community and do great things,” said Commissioner Dave Ditzler.
As work on the project continues, commissioners hope to get approval for the reinvestment area from the state in the next month or so.