Council OKs bid for tech center
City council approved a partnership with Mahoning County on land use.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
CITY HALL REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- City council finally gave its blessing to have the downtown redevelopment agency apply for a $600,000 state grant for a proposed Youngstown Technology Center.
But it will be months before the Youngstown Central Area Community Improvement Corp., the downtown agency, finds out if the application is successful.
The CIC needed city council's approval to apply for the state grant.
At a July meeting, Councilman Rufus Hudson, D-2nd, expressed concerns about council's relationship with the CIC, and wouldn't vote in favor of approving the grant. Council refused to pass the legislation by emergency measure at the time because of Hudson's concerns.
Council met last month, and all council members but Hudson were prepared to support the emergency passage of the proposal. Legislation needs the support of six members of the seven-person council to be approved via emergency. Only six members attended the August meeting, and Hudson wouldn't vote in favor of the legislation.
But with all seven council members in attendance at Wednesday's meeting, the ordinance passed via emergency by a 6-1 vote with Hudson being the lone no vote.
The application for the Clean Ohio Fund grant should be finished by next week, said Jason Whitehead, CIC's executive director. State law requires the application be on display at the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County's main branch on Wick Avenue for 30 days with a public hearing held after that before the CIC can submit it to the state, Whitehead said. The state has 90 days to vote on the application, he said.
The $600,000 would go toward demolition and environmental remediation at the future site of a $5.2 million Youngstown Technology Center on West Federal Street, next door to the Youngstown Business Incubator.
Also at Wednesday's meeting, council approved a partnership with Mahoning County to make it easier for individuals and businesses to buy vacant abandoned lots in Youngstown. The county commissioners will vote on the legislation next week.
The city and county would form a regional council of governments that would allow the purchase of tax delinquent, abandoned lots in the city for redevelopment purposes at a reduced price, said Jeffrey Chagnot, the city's economic development director.
There are about 17,000 vacant abandoned parcels in the city, Chagnot said.
Council also authorized the board of control to waive water and sewer tap-in fees and building permit costs, about $4,000 in all, for F & amp;N Food Services to open a Coney Island restaurant at 751 Elm St.
The North Side location was last used about six years ago as a restaurant and bar. The company is investing $170,000 in the restaurant, near the Youngstown State University campus.