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YOUNGSTOWN Proposal gets under way for court building

By Roger Smith

Sunday, December 14, 2003

The new court would be on West Federal between Phelps and Hazel streets.
YOUNGSTOWN -- A new court building on West Federal Street is in the works.
The 7th District Court of Appeals wants downtown's redevelopment agency to generate a proposal for the project by Thursday.
That's when Mahoning County commissioners are to review the plan developed by the Youngstown Central Area Community Improvement Corp.
The new court would cost about $3 million and be built on West Federal between Phelps and Hazel streets, said Greg Strollo of Hanahan-Strollo & amp; Associates, the court's architect, and Robert Budinsky, the court administrator. Parking would be behind the building.
The court would take up most of the space between the vacant Kress building and First Educators Investment Corp., Strollo said. A vacant lot and a few dilapidated CIC-owned buildings sit between Kress and First Educators. Those buildings would be demolished.
The new court would take nine to 10 months to build, he said.
Details to come
CIC's property committee broached the topic Friday. The committee didn't get into details such as financing, however.
Ed Romero, CIC's lawyer, said the agency, court and county generally agree on how to do the project. The agency declined to disclose details, however, until Tuesday. That's when the property committee and full board are to review the proposal.
The court project wouldn't rely on any of the $25 million in federal grant money that Congress is expected to soon redirect from a proposed arena to several downtown improvement projects, said Reid Dulberger, a CIC staff member.
The desire to create a proposal for a new court on West Federal emerged only in the past couple of days, Dulberger said.
The appeals court has been considering options, from remaining in the county courthouse to renovating existing space, for years.
CSB office
CIC's recent success in reaching a deal with the county Children Services Board for a new building appealed to the court, Strollo said.
On Friday, the property committee recommended awarding a contract to build the CSB office.
The committee recommended that CIC's full board award the contract to the low bidder at $7,078,300, Jance Construction. Two other bids were $500,000 to $700,000 more.
Jance, which built the George V. Voinovich Government Center on West Federal, had the best engineering and architectural proposal, CIC staff said.
The new building will go up next door to the Voinovich. The building will house CSB on the top two floors, and the state Bureau of Workers' Compensation will occupy the second floor. The ground level will be enclosed parking.
CSB had no objection to awarding Jance the contract. County officials had until Friday to register any concerns but didn't.
Rent decrease
The property committee also voted to drop the rent for a tenant in the Semple building, the Insurance Center of Youngstown.
The Insurance Center asked for the price drop because summer water damage leaves about half the space it was renting unusable. CIC fixed the water leakage and agreed to drop the rent from $1,207 to $603 per month and change the term from two years to month-to-month.
Cosmetic damage to ceiling tiles, paneling and floor tiles won't be fixed until there is interest in using the space.