REDEVELOPMENT Hudson blocks grant request
The councilman isn't pleased with the city-CIC financial relationship.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
CITY HALL REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Councilman Rufus Hudson says he is just one vote.
But his one vote is holding up legislation to have the city and the Youngstown Central Area Community Improvement Corp., the city's downtown redevelopment agency, apply for a $600,000 state grant.
That money would go toward demolition and environmental remediation at the future site of a $5.2 million Youngstown Technology Center on West Federal Street. To apply for the state money, the CIC needs city council's approval.
Hudson, D-2nd and a CIC member, said he isn't opposed to applying for the grant.
Hudson's problem is the relationship between the city and the CIC. He wants the CIC to share the money it receives from renting and selling downtown buildings. Hudson said he is tired of the CIC seeking city money for projects and never giving any of its profits to the city.
"We need to look at revenue flowing to the city," he said.
The support of six members is needed for legislation to be approved via emergency by the seven-member Youngstown City Council. With Councilman Michael Rapovy, D-5th, unable to attend Thursday's special meeting because of a work obligation, that left six council members.
CIC officials attended Thursday's council meeting and a finance committee caucus before the meeting urging passage of the legislation. Council refused to pass the legislation by emergency measure last month because of Hudson's concerns. All council members but Hudson were prepared Thursday to support the emergency passage of the legislation.
Without Hudson's support, it received a second reading.
Council plans to hold another special meeting in the next few weeks to pass this legislation.
There is no deadline to submit the $600,000 proposal to obtain a Clean Ohio Fund grant, but the clock is ticking because the money is given to eligible projects on a first-come, first-serve basis, said Reid Dulberger, the Regional Chamber's executive vice president who works with the CIC.
Under an agreement signed 10 years ago with the CIC, the city is obligated to pay the cost of remediating certain downtown buildings -- including the five that are to be demolished for the technology center -- if the redevelopment agency cannot come up with the money, Dulberger said.
"We want to take [the city] off the hook" for that obligation, he said. "Technically, legally, they are required to do it. It doesn't say anything about how much money is in their bank account. We've always been sensitive to the city's financial situation."
Dulberger said the CIC isn't sure what it will do if it doesn't get state funding for this project.