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MAHONING COUNTY EMA awaits move to new home



Published: Mon, July 30, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Bids could be opened next week and the project finished by November.

By BOB JACKSON

VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- After having its location changed eight times in the past 19 years, the Mahoning County Emergency Management Agency should have a permanent home by the end of November.

"It's something we have badly needed," said executive director Walter Duzzny.

The department will occupy a building to be constructed on county-owned land on Industrial Road, near the county engineer's building on the city's West Side.

Bids were to be opened Wednesday, but the deadline to submit them was pushed back about a week after contractors sought clarification of some project specifications, said James Fortunato, purchasing director.

Once bids are opened, it should take about two weeks to review them, Duzzny said. If the bids meet state and county guidelines, contracts could be awarded with construction to begin shortly afterward. It should take about three months to complete.

Duzzny said the $400,000 cost will be paid with revenue from a 0.5 percent county sales tax.

Past locations: When Duzzny started working for the agency 19 years ago, the agency was located in offices on West Boardman Street, a building that is now the county administration building.

Since then it has been moved to the South Side Annex on Market Street, an office building on South Avenue, the basement of the county courthouse, back to the administration building and into the county justice center.

When the minimum-security jail at Fifth Avenue and Commerce Street was closed two years ago because of budget cuts, the agency moved into offices on the second floor of that building. It was forced out earlier this year because the jail reopened and sheriff's department needed the space for staffing, Duzzny said.

Since January, the agency has been back at the South Side Annex in the city's Uptown District.

Originally, the proposed Industrial Road building was to house only vehicles and equipment for the HazMat team, an arm of the EMA that responds to situations involving hazardous materials.

The HazMat team is housed in the former Boardman Township road department garage on Southern Boulevard, which the county rents.

Expansion: Duzzny said the EMA decided to expand the building and create a new headquarters for itself. Both agencies will be centrally located, and the EMA will have a building where it can create a permanent command headquarters to be used during emergency situations.

bjackson@vindy.com




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