Lawmakers from northeastern Ohio have secured $250,000 in state funding to convert an unused cargo building at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport to a military deployment center for the adjacent Youngstown Air Reserve Station.
Plans call for the 25,000-square-foot building and a 13-acre cargo apron to serve as a regional hub from which troops from all branches of the military in Ohio and three neighboring states could deploy, reported WFMJ. It would be the sixth such Air Force facility. The deployment center also could serve as a staging point during an emergency in the Mahoning Valley.
Establishing a deployment hub would help boost the local economy and strengthen the air reserve station, said Col. James Dignan, commander of the 910th Airlift Wing.
“Actually something that the valley can be proud of to make the 910th Airlift Wing and the Air Force Reserve viable for the long run and the long term. We can grow the mission here and further cement our long term sustainability here in the valley,” Dignan said.
Mahoning Valley lawmakers are trying to secure at least $800,000 in additional state funds to finish paying off the bond on the building and donate it to the Air Force. Discussions about adding funding for the debarkation center in next year’s biennium budget already are under way, said state Rep. Sean O’Brien.