Traffic now will be able to circulate around the lots.
By ROGER G. SMITH
CITY HALL REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- The city has given final approvals needed for an old parking deck on Boardman Street downtown to come down and new surface lots to replace the garage.
The city's design review commission approved the layout of the two new lots, totaling 151 parking spaces, and landscaping for them Wednesday.
Last month, the design board approved a demolition permit so the deck's owner, USA Parking Systems, could tear down the garage.
The board had hesitated to grant the permit. Finally, board members were persuaded that the deck is plagued with structural problems.
The new lots were the next sticking point. The board asked USA to come up with a plan that addressed three issues: access points to the street, traffic flow that didn't allow vehicles to circulate around the lots and landscaping.
Wednesday, the design board approved an entrance on Front Street and an exit on Phelps Street. Traffic will be able to circulate around the lots, and trees and bushes will screen them from the street.
Parking spaces will be on two levels because the site sits on a small hill. A park will be built across from city hall, between WFMJ and Amedia Plaza, as part of the original plan. Only the WFMJ and Amedia Plaza buildings will be left standing on the Phelps-Front-Hazel-Boardman block after the demolition.
USA has said it wants to start work within 30 days of city approval.
Late last month, the city approved a grant for the parking deck owners of up to $120,000 to help with the demolition costs.
The design board also gave approval for two murals to be erected on downtown buildings.
One will go up on the west side of the Ross Radio building on Federal Street. The other is proposed for the east side of Powers Auditorium, though that mural isn't definite.
Both paintings will be copies of artwork from the collection of the Butler Institute of American Art. Jack Carlton, a local artist and teacher, is coordinator of the Downtown Murals Project, which is putting up 10 vinyl murals.