Youngstown, Boardman vie for water tower, land

BOARDMAN — Two communities are angling for ownership of a water tower, but neither request is likely to be granted soon.

Youngstown received a $1.17 million loan through the state District 6 Public Works Committee, which works through Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, to upgrade the water tank between Erskine and Afton avenues in the township.

Total project cost is $3 million.

The plan is to replace the 500,000-gallon tank with a 1.5 million-gallon one. City officials say the improvement will provide better water pressure to city water department customers on the city’s South Side and in the township.

Last month, John Casciano, city water commissioner, sent a letter to Mahoning County commissioners asking that both the tower and the land, both of which it says are owned by Mahoning County, be transferred to the city. It doesn’t indicate the amount of property involved.

The tank was built by the county and turned over to the city to operate and maintain, likely in the 1960s. However, the tank and the property remain county property, according to Casciano’s letter.

“It is the intention of the city of Youngstown to build on this existing property and demolish the existing water tank after the new tank is in service,” Casciano’s letter says. He couldn’t be reached to comment last week.

Township officials don’t support the transfer.

Jason Loree, township administrator, also sent a letter to commissioners last month, registering the township’s opposition. “This letter is a plea to you not to transfer the water tank to the city of Youngstown,” he wrote.

If the county intends to transfer the property, Loree wrote, he requests that a stipulation be added to the agreement that forbids Youngstown from beginning any annexation proceedings due to the transfer.

Trustee Kathy Miller said she’s also spoken to commissioners Anthony Traficanti and David Ludt, voicing the township’s opposition.

“I told them, don’t give the city that land,” she said. “We’ll buy it.”

Miller said she’s uncomfortable with the city’s having ownership of the tank, pending the results of a study of the city’s water system. The city has signed a $100,000 contract with a Cleveland company to conduct the study.

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