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YOUNGSTOWN CIVIC CENTER Fed up, Lyden will leave board



Published: Fri, January 25, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The resigning board member has doubts the civic-center project will work at all.

By ROGER G. SMITH

CITY HALL REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Paul A. Lyden is leaving the civic center board, and he isn't going quietly.

Lyden, the Mahoning County commissioners' representative, is resigning effective Feb. 1 and slamming the city on the way out.

Lyden gave two reasons for leaving:

* "I was informed that this board would serve as a working board and be meaningful and serve a purpose, not as an advisory board."

* "I personally will not serve as a second-class secretary to part-time unprofessional politicians."

Lyden, vice president of Lyden Oil Co., said he thought the proposed downtown civic-center project would work. Now, he has doubts because of how council and the mayor have handled the project, insisting on city control over all decisions.

One concern: Such politics is bound to scare away private investors, he said.

"I feel sorry for the citizens and businesses of Youngstown that must deal with these thoughtless politicians," he said. "I gave it a year. It's getting to be a political boondoggle. They're screwing the whole deal up."

Mayor George M. McKelvey couldn't be reached to comment.

Lyden credited the other 12 board members and said he expects his resignation to be the first of several. The board will find it difficult to act as an overseer considering the politics, he said.

Commissioner Ed Reese was surprised and disappointed at Lyden's departure.

"Paul went in there with all honest intentions. He was very enthusiastic," Reese said. "Apparently things have changed."

Anyone interested in replacing Lyden can contact the commissioners' office.

rgsmith@vindy.com




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