YSU seeks to own 2 city streets

City hall improvements are expected to cost 180,000.
YOUNGSTOWN -- City council will consider legislation Wednesday that would eventually lead to giving Youngstown State University two roads on its campus.
YSU is requesting the city vacate University Plaza from Wick Avenue to Bryson Street, and Bryson Street from University Plaza to its dead-end.
The university wants ownership of the streets, near Kilcawley Center, as part of the East Gateway Project aspect of its 2008 Centennial Plan, said Ron Cole, a YSU spokesman.
"It's a major gateway to the university," he said. "It's important that the streets be attractive and well-maintained."
The university wants to place underground utility lines on the streets, Cole added.
YSU spent about 1 million last year to renovate two parking lots on those streets, he said.
If council approves the legislation, it would refer the matter to the city planning commission for a hearing. After the hearing, the commission would vote on recommending the street vacations to city council. Council would then have its own public hearing before voting to vacate the streets.
YSU wants to obtain ownership and make the utility improvements by next August, Cole said.
Council also will consider an ordinance to permit the finance director to use city funds, estimated to be about 180,000, to make improvements and security upgrades to the first floor of city hall, including the lobby and the mayor's office.
Bids for the work were to be opened today.
Tax-abatement request
Council also is scheduled to vote Wednesday on authorizing the board of control to negotiate a 10-year, 75-percent real property tax abatement with Metalcrafts Holding Co. LLC, a metal forming and specialty application company moving from Hubbard to the Ohio Works Business Park off Division Street.
Metalcrafts plans to build a structure between 10,000 and 15,000 square feet in the business park, which used to house U.S. Steel's Ohio Works until it closed in the late 1970s. Metalcrafts plans to spend about 875,000 on the project.
The company employs about 10 full-time workers and expects to add nine to 15 part-time and two full-time ones over the next three years.
The company would save 128,268 in real property taxes with the abatement and pay 42,756 in property taxes if it is approved.
Council authorized the board of control earlier this month to provide an interest-free loan for up to 1 million to the company with the loan guaranteed by an irrevocable letter of credit from a bank.

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