The Mahoning County Commissioners have approved a tax incentive that owners of the Southern Park Mall have said is needed for a redevelopment plan.

Commissioners met Thursday morning to approve the 15-year, 100 percent tax abatement sought by Washington Prime Group for a $30 million project.

Boardman Township Trustees and the Boardman Local School Board have already okayed the incentives that mall owners say are needed to create a Community Entertainment District.

In September, Washington Prime announced a partnership with the DeBartolo-York family to design a new four-acre athletic and entertainment venue.

That venue will be named the DeBartolo Commons at the Southern Park Mall.

The former Sears store at the mall has been demolished to make way for the DeBartolo Commons, which includes an athletic and entertainment green space and an event venue.

The CEO of Washington Prime Group said the venue would include a new row of retail, a bandstand, and a stage.

Adjacent to the DeBartolo Commons Southern Park Mall are plans to add a golf entertainment center as well as new food and beverage offerings.

A Washington Prime executive has described the incentives as commonly-used economic development tools to offset $6 million in costs of creating the district.

Washington Prime would fund 100% of its project costs upfront and be reimbursed a portion of its costs over time through a series of programs.

The mall owners would work with the Western Reserve Port Authority to save on sales tax paid on construction materials.

Washington Prime is being allowed to keep a portion of new real estate taxes generated from the newly created property value.

Mall owners also want a share of property taxes on mall property for a limited but unspecified time.

Washington Prime has said that no local governmental agency, including Boardman Local Schools, is being asked to forego any budgeted revenue through the proposed incentives package.

At Thursday's meeting, a representative from Washington Prime Group said that the schools wouldn't lose any money, and if the mall is successful, schools will see even more property tax revenue.

Only new taxes generated from new development would be impacted, and only for a limited period, according to Washington Prime.

The company says residents of Boardman or Mahoning County will not be asked to pay any new property tax as a result of the incentives package.

Washington Prime says the incentives would offset costs associated with things like site costs relating to cleanup of the former Sears site, preparation of land for the new DeBartolo Commons green space, sports fields, and construction of new stormwater facilities that will alleviate potential flooding.

Boardman Schools would be given priority when it comes to using the DeBartolo Commons green space and sports fields, according to Washington Prime.

A proposed walking and bike path would connect DeBartolo Commons, Southern Park Mall, to Boardman Park as part of Township's Active Transportation Plan under the proposal.

Washington Prime Group says it is using local unionized labor to perform the renovation work.