City wants input on plan to renovate West Federal
Federal Street improvements are part of the city's 2010 plan.
By NANCY TULLIS
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- City officials want public input on a new plan for West Federal Street that includes removal of the boulevard island and parking realignment that will double the number of parking spaces.
About a dozen people looked over the plans during the first hour of a drop-in public meeting Thursday at city hall. Among the visitors were some city officials, business owners with shops and offices on West Federal Street, and some entrepreneurs considering locating there. All seemed to be in favor of the city's plan.
Carmen Conglose Jr., deputy director of public works, said the project aimed at West Federal from Phelps to Fifth streets is part of the city's 2010 plan. The work won't be as involved as the improvements to West Federal Street from Phelps to Market, nor will it hamper business on West Federal, he said.
One similarity will be replacing parallel parking with angled parking, significantly increasing the number of parking spaces, officials said.
John Evan, senior project manager and vice president of ES & amp;C International, engineers and surveyors, said the improvements will create better traffic flow, better access to businesses and improved parking. ES & amp;C is engineering the new project and also engineered the project that opened Federal Plaza to vehicle traffic.
Evan said currently there are no parking spaces designated for the handicapped between Phelps and Fifth streets. Once improvements are made, there will be 11.
Even though Evan left Youngstown after earning bachelor's and master's degrees in engineering from Youngstown State University, his heart remained in downtown Youngstown. After working in Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, he decided to return to Youngstown and start his own company.
Now he is not only helping with Youngstown's rebirth, he's also firmly planted in the middle of it. The firm is at 44 East Federal, so overseeing and inspecting that work meant simply stepping out the company's front door.
Both professionally and personally, Evan is excited to see the West Federal project begin.
After East Federal improvements were finished, he watched as vehicle and pedestrian traffic increased. He saw business at The Bean Counter Cafe at 47 East Federal go from a few people each morning to a line of people that extended into the street.
He believes improvements to West Federal will have the same effect on business there.
Conglose said city officials will have solid plans for the project in hand by the end of the year and apply for Ohio Department of Public Works Issue 2 money to pay for it. He said there are no cost estimates for the project.
Conglose said anyone who wants to comment on the project can pick up a comment form in his office. The deadline for returning the forms is Sept. 30.