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First businesses confirmed for Mingo Junction plaza

MINGO JUNCTION — Two businesses committed to locations in a 13-acre site along Mingo Junction’s South Commercial Street, with more tenants to hopefully come soon, developers of the property said.

Known as the Junction Plaza, the site will be home to a Dairy Queen and a Circle K convenience store and gas station, said Joe Ewusiak, managing member of Ewusiak Development.

The gas station is expected to offer diesel fuel and gasoline.

Ewusiak said progress is “far along in every stage” for the plaza project, which is finalizing engineering design.

Construction will begin once all papers have been signed, Ewusiak said, with work anticipated to be underway by spring.

The businesses should act as the plaza’s anchor, encouraging more businesses to follow suit and occupy remaining spots on the site, Ewusiak said.

“We’re hoping to bring in something, whether it’s … a restaurant, family-owned shops — just a reason for people to go over there,” Ewusiak said.

Located directly off the Commercial Street exit of Ohio 7, the plaza could be a major asset for Mingo Junction, encouraging highway traffic into the village. The plaza also will provide a gas station in a community that’s been without one for years.

Mingo Junction Mayor Judy Ruckman said she’s looking forward to having a gas station available for village residents and postal workers, who currently must travel to surrounding communities for fuel.

“We need development, and I’m grateful (Ewusiak Development) is going to develop here and bring something to our community,” Ruckman said.

The development’s promise was extensive enough to draw the attention of former state senator Frank Hoagland, a Republican from Mingo Junction who retired in December. During the plaza’s ribbon-cutting ceremony in May, Hoagland said he was “ecstatic” and dubbed the development the “New Mingo Junction.”

Owned by Ewusiak Development for about 20 years, the site has undergone reclamation and cleanup efforts. More recently, a layer of slag and gravel was spread over the site to decrease roughness. Also, utility poles were moved to ensure the wires would not be in the way of vehicles.

Ewusiak said the site’s entrance is slated for a move, just a bit to the right to make entering easier for vehicles exiting Ohio 7. Additionally, plans are being prepared to install utilities, Ewusiak said.

Development of the site to meet Ewusiak Development’s plans necessitated a rezoning request with the village. Zoned for industrial, sections needed to be zoned for commercial and light industrial to suit the plaza’s vision.

Ruckman said the village “gave everything (Ewusiak Development) needed in terms of zoning” to achieve the desired classifications. The latter will need to submit a formal proposal to the village’s zoning committee, soon to be combined by ordinance with its planning committee. The committee will review the proposal and make sure it’s in an acceptable state to be voted on, at which point it will turn the proposal over to village council for final approval.

Ewusiak Development’s hopes for the property include constructing a recycling center in the rear of the site, Ewusiak said. Known as Junction Recycling, the center will accept materials such as plastics and shingles and be managed by a new limited liability corporation under Ewusiak Development.

Ewusiak said partners are being sought for the center, which will mitigate recycling materials from the area being sent to landfills.

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