The new member looks forward to plans with Youngstown.
AUSTINTOWN -- Although laughter filled the room when Michael J. Kurish, the township clerk, was unanimously appointed to the 2020 project team at a trustees meeting Monday, there was no mistaking the important mission Kurish accepted. The trustees joked that Kurish didn't have the chance to say no.
When the smiles waned, it was clear the township and its newest recruit to a six-member Austintown contingent is vital to the future of the Austintown side of Meridian Road.
Youngstown 2010 and Austintown 2020, both vision committees, each decided to appoint six community representatives to work jointly on the Meridian Corridor Project. Meridian Road is the border of the township and the city.
Kurish, a resident of Austintown since 1985, is the elected representative on a road project committee that will include a variety of community leaders.
"It represents a great opportunity for the Valley and perhaps it can be used as an example as what Youngstown can do with its other neighbors," Kurish said.
The largest snare in the coming months will be financial, Kurish said. But he said Youngstown 2010's vision was "impressive" in preliminary presentations, and he looks forward to Thursday's "Unveiling the Plan" at 7 p.m. in Stambaugh Auditorium.
Fred Owens, president of Austintown Growth Foundation, said he could not be happier with the pick.
"He's terrific, he's participated in Austintown 2020 from its inception," Owens said.
Both Owens and Kurish said working with Youngstown on Meridian Road attracts attention to the importance of the project.
"If we get Youngstown and Austintown together and look at, for example, Mahoning Avenue, there's more of a mandate," Owens said.
The trustees also moved to support the alliance of the 2010-2020 groups.
In other matters, the board approved several expense matters including detailed requisitions from the town's departments and also welcomed a new Italian franchise, Rotelli Restaurant, scheduled to open Feb. 9.
In closing remarks, Trustee David C. Ditzler expressed his regret about the failure of a sales tax renewal vote that helped pave more than 5 miles of roads in 2004.
None, he learned in a recent meeting, will be paved in 2005. "It's disheartening to see us take a giant step backward with respect to the county budget and the sales tax," Ditzler said.