A recent article in the Business-Journal with the title "Next Hot Spot? Western Reserve Corridor" examined the anticipated acceleration of new commercial and residential properties, especially as this east-west road south of the existing suburban population core is widened by the county.
The chief deputy engineer of Mahoning County discusses the project, explaining the phases of the widening, and the ongoing negotiations with property owners to secure the right-of-way.
In terms of future planning and expending public resources in the long-term, one may ask if widening Western Reserve Road is the best use of funds.
On one hand, the region's population is predicted to shrink by 15% over the next twenty years. We will have less people, but our urbanized footprint is growing rapidly.
We all see how vacancies along route 224 in boardman are increasing, and one can imagine the pattern will only be accelerated as the shopping infrastructure ages. What happened to Midlothian Blvd in the city in recent decades may happen to route 224 in the suburbs during the next few decades.
County money today is being spent on creating more infrastructure. Future county money (and your taxes) will then be spent on future maintenance such as snow removal and repaving this additional infrastructure in the years to come. Meanwhile, the existing infrastructure and suburbs are more neglected as resources are shifted.
One the other hand, you can get from Western Reserve Road to Cranberry Township in Pennsylvania in less than 45 minutes. If the future destiny of parts of the Youngstown metro region is to be a bedroom community for Pittsburgh, housing on Western Reserve Road offers the shortest commute via the OH-PA turnpike and its existing system of exits. Widening Western Reserve may get more people into Mahoning County and Ohio.
what do you think?
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(historical note: Western Reserve Road was the southern boundary of both the Connecticut Western Reserve and Trumbull County. When Mahoning County was eventually formed, a chunk came from north of the road (from Trumbull) and a chunk from south of the road (from the already existing Columbiana County). Because of the different surveying methods used on either side of the road, the size of the townships differed on either side of Western Reserve Road and thus, Mahoning County today has two sizes of townships - resulting in its unique shape.