POLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – A large crowd showed up Wednesday night in Poland to learn and ask questions about repurposing Poland Union School into apartments and eventually condos.
It was a joint meeting of the Poland School Board and Village Council that about 100 people attended. It was purely an informational meeting with no decisions being made.
“I’m representing our Poland Union Property Group that has put together a potential development plan for redevelopment for the highest and best use for what we think would be a great fit for this community,” said Dominic Marchionda, Jr.
Developers Dominic Marchionda, Jr. and Patrick Burgan outlined the $8 million plan. There would be 28 one-to-three-bedroom apartments renting from $1,500 to $2,000 a month. Burgan called them the highest-end apartments the Valley has seen.
“We’re going to create very high-end, luxury modern housing,” Burgan said.
School Board member Larry Dinopoulos raised concerns about two of Marchionda’s other projects at Erie Terminal Place and Wick Towers in downtown Youngstown, both of which have had findings against them by the Ohio Auditor.
“I think that’s a great concern and we’re not certainly, by any means, going to shy away from it. Stand up here today and happy to walk through the performance, the financials,” Marchionda said.
The transaction is set up where the Western Reserve Port Authority would acquire the property from the Poland School Board for $1 so that deed restrictions can be put in place.
But Poland resident Becky Rigney had issues with the $1 sale price.
“How do you think the donation of this property for $1 is going to play with taxpayers when you come back to us and try to build a K-12 campus or even to pass any future levies?” she asked.
School Board President Troy Polis agreed with Rigney, even suggesting only the school be sold to the developers and the remaining land in the 6.4 acres be held back and sold later.
Marchionda showed examples — specifically a school in Canton that was repurposed as a multi-use facility. The group is hoping to use a combination of their money, loans and historic preservation tax credits to pay for it.
If everything goes smoothly, the plan is to have people living at Poland Union at the end of next year or early in 2024.