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2.75 million marked for business incubator



Published: Wed, December 6, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



Most of the funding goes for construction and renovation projects.

By JEFF ORTEGA

VINDICATOR CORRESPONDENT

COLUMBUS -- The two-year, 1.8 billion capital bill unveiled Tuesday in the Ohio House contains 2.75 million for the Youngstown Business Incubator.

The incubator wants to use the money for a second expansion project, said Reid Dulberger, executive vice president of the Regional Chamber and a staff member of the Youngstown Central Area Community Improvement Corp., a downtown property development agency.

This expansion project would include improvements to the vacant Semple and Wells buildings on West Federal Street, near the incubator and owned by the CIC, Dulberger said. The project would be done in phases and cost about 5.9 million, he said.

"We would provide space to YBI tenants to expand and to attract other tech firms to downtown," Dulberger said.

The CIC recently had five buildings to the immediate west of the incubator demolished for the construction of the 30,000-square-foot Youngstown Technology Center. Construction should start shortly. That project is largely funded through state capital bill and U.S. Economic Development Administration money.

The brick-and-mortar funding measure, expected to be passed by the state Legislature by the end of the year, didn't contain any funding for the Chevrolet Centre.

Most of the money in the capital bill goes for construction, renovation and maintenance projects at state colleges and universities, mental-health and retardation facilities, state government buildings and state park lands.

A certain amount of money is usually reserved for community projects such as sports stadiums, arenas and theaters.

The projects are paid for mainly by the sale of bonds, some of which are retired with general state revenues.

If approved by the House, the proposed capital bill would move to the Senate for consideration.

As the administration of GOP Gov. Bob Taft winds down, Tim Keen, the state's budget director, said the incoming administration of Gov.-elect Ted Strickland, a Democrat from Lisbon, will benefit from what Keen called prudent financial management now.

"They will inherit a state government that not only has a solid bond rating, but that is also in sound financial condition with a balance of more than 1 billion in the Budget Stabilization Fund," Keen told the House Finance Committee.

The state holds an AA+ rating from Standard & amp; Poor's and Aa1 from Moody's Investors Service, Keen said. The BSF is the state's cash reserves.

CONTRIBUTOR: David Skolnick, city hall reporter.




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