AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine helped break ground Wednesday on a new addition at the Mahoning Valley Campus of Care in Austintown.
The new structure will be a greenhouse to help clients learn skills and a trade. Many are calling it a model for the rest of the state.
“People who’ve had a vision and then had the guts to carry out the vision,” DeWine said.
After former Governor John Kasich ordered the old Youngstown Developmental Center and others like it closed, the state sold the 32-acre site to Mahoning County for $1. Since then, a number of agencies specializing in addiction and mental health treatment and programs for the developmentally disabled have moved in.
DeWine said the project was being developed over the last five or six years. He said it would have been easy for leaders to simply give up.
“But what the community did, what the commissioners did, what everyone did is say, ‘Nope,'” he said.
Those who organized the governor’s visit believe he and his staff were impressed.
“You have DD, you have mental health, you have a lot of different systems all coming together. I think you don’t see that kind of collaboration anywhere else in the state,” said Duane Piccirilli, with the Mahoning County Mental Health Board.
Since the facility first opened two years ago, the Campus of Care is now home to more than 300 people who are either working there or being served by various programs inside, and more will be coming.
“That’s exactly what we are looking to hear. It’s so much commitment. In the State of the Union Address, he said the system isn’t broken, It just wasn’t built. I think he’s committed to building it,” Piccirilli said.
And while DeWine was visiting the Mahoning Valley Campus of Care, he took a tour of one of its facilities that is expanding there. The ground was broken on a new commercial greenhouse that will provide home-grown produce for the Access Health Foods warehouse.
The facility provides food for the local Mobile Market Program, which offers a grocery store on wheels for seniors and others with special needs around Mahoning County.
“You talk about seniors that may be limited and they depend on somebody to get their food
“You talk about seniors that may be limited, they depend on somebody to get their food or they don’t have a grocery store within walking distance, so having a facility like that gives us the capacity to do a mobile market and give the option that is right on their doorstep,” said spokesperson Jeff Magada,
The governor and others also formally cut the ribbon for the warehouse to mark its opening as well.