FIFTH AVENUE Boulevard will get makeover

The city forester will plant the trees on the boulevard.
YOUNGSTOWN -- The city and a neighborhood group will split the cost of relandscaping the Fifth Avenue boulevard this fall.
The city park board agreed Thursday to split the $970 cost for new trees with the Fifth Avenue Boulevard Neighbors.
The boulevard, one of the more distinctive features in the city, runs on Fifth between Tod Lane and the city line.
Normally, the parks department is responsible for maintaining the boulevard, said director Joseph R. McRae. A few of the trees were in bad shape, the neighborhood group offered a partnership, and the city couldn't say no, McRae said.
The city forester will plant the trees.
Reorganizing city efforts
Park commissioner Denise Warren asked the staff to review the security costs for city pools. The city pays off-duty deputy sheriffs $17.50 per hour.
The city used to pay less for security guards, but youths weren't respecting their authority, McRae said. There were periodic problems, and police sometimes had to be called anyway, he said.
There have been no significant problems since deputy sheriffs were hired a few years ago, McRae said.
Park commissioners also had a discussion about improving the appearance and maintenance of some city parks.
Warren said workers who aren't doing a good enough job need to be held accountable. McRae said he is holding workers accountable with the recent hiring of a new supervisor.
The reorganization will take a little time to show results, he said. The department lost 60 years of experience with the departure of a couple longtime supervisors, he said.
Commissioner George Williams suggested possibly hiring a landscaping company to handle beautification while park workers do core maintenance work. Beautification is important to forming good first impressions, he said.
Commissioner Michael James said the department first needs to see what it can accomplish before contracting out.

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