WALTON HILLS -- Federal, state, and local representatives met over the future of the closing Ford Stamping Plant.
The 58-year-old, 2.2 million-square-foot plant will close by 2014, and the Village of Walton Hills wants to get as many resources in place before that happens, to build a new future for the facility.
"It has so many different potentials. It has so many different opportunities," says Mayor Kevin Hurst, whose community will lose $650,000 a year in tax revenue when the plant is completely shuttered.
Hurst was among dozens of people, including federal and state officials, who tried to identify every source of advice, help, and revenue possible for Walton Hills to ease the transition of the Ford plant into something new, innovative, and productive.
"I could envision a number of possibilities," he told WKYC. "I think a medical facility would be possible, or a Crocker Park-type development."
It isn't easy," admits Jay Williams, the former mayor of Youngstown and now the president's Director of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers, a position known as the "Car Czar."
"It isn't going to happen overnight but we have seen first hand some of the successes that can come out of places like this," Williams pointed out.
"It took us 25, 30 years before we finally recognized that steel wasn't going to come back. Fortunately, over the last 10 to 12 years, we have seen recovery in places like Youngstown. Manufacturing has made a comeback."
"We have called these sessions to coordinate federal assistance to these communities as they rebuild themselves economically, as they seek to build new visions for their communities."