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Port authority buys land for YARS gate upgrades

VIENNA — The Western Reserve Port Authority board on Wednesday gave its OK to purchase 42.3 acres adjacent to the Youngstown Air Reserve Station it needs to build a new main entrance to improve security.

The port authority will pay $423,500 for the land east of the station’s existing gate on King Graves Road.

“We have been negotiating for three-plus years on that property with Mr. Alderman and the reason that we were asked is because the airbase itself cannot purchase the property for the price that Mr. Alderman asked,” port authority CEO John Moliterno, said.

The port authority stepped in to bridge the gap in negotiations between property owners James and Nancy Alderman of Vienna, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers after the sides couldn’t agree on a sale price. The corps of engineers was prohibited from paying more for the land than its appraised worth.

It will now turn around and sell the land to the corps of engineers for what it has determined as the fair market value. Another appraisal is scheduled for the land.

The port authority will be reimbursed fully using funds that include money from the state.

The land is needed to move the reserve station’s main gate to put it in line with U.S. Department of Defense specifications for road setbacks. It was built with the base in 1953.

“As we all know, the world has changed quite a bit since then,” said Master Sgt. Bob Barko Jr., superintendent of public affairs at the 910th Airlift Wing. “If you have ever been at other military installations, you need to drive a while to get onto the base. We currently have 10 car lengths from the road to the gate. This new project will allow 60 car lengths off of the road to where they actually enter the base.”

The project also includes a new visitors center. About $8.5 million has been set aside by the U.S. government to complete the project, which is expected to break ground in about six months.

May 20, 2021. The Tribune Chronicle.