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‘Things are looking up’ for $970M V&M plan



Published: Sun, August 23, 2009 @ 12:10 a.m.

Youngstown’s mayor said the project may set a positive precedent for Girard, Youngstown and the entire Mahoning Valley.

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

GIRARD — Girard officials said they will meet Monday afternoon with Youngstown officials to try to reach an agreement over the proposed $970 million V&M Star Steel expansion.

Girard City Council met for about two hours Saturday behind closed doors to discuss their plan.

“Things are looking up,” said 4th Ward Councilman Tom Grumley.

He said he could not reveal any details of the talks, but noted that the plan under consideration is to move forward and not return to “negative times” in the Valley.

“We want the expansion,” he said.

No time was announced for Monday’s meeting, but he expected it would be in the afternoon.

V&M Star officials want 80 acres in Girard to become part of Youngstown. The company wants its Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard plant to be totally within Youngstown.

Youngstown recently bought the 80 acres, and V&M has said it will reimburse the city for the property at a cost of about $5 million.

Mayor James Melfi and some council members left city hall without commenting, and the mayor could not be reached later by phone.

Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams said he did not want to get into specifics of talks, but he said they could set a very positive precedent for the Girard, Youngstown and the entire Mahoning Valley. The area, the mayor said, is one entity and an agreement would help both communities.

Girard council members have indicated they favor the boundary change.

V&M officials have indicated the company wants a decision by Friday or will look elsewhere for a site for the project if an agreement is not reached on the land dispute.

If V&M moves ahead with the project, it would hire about 400 employeesmaking about $60,000 to $70,000 per year, Williams said.

It will cost about $5 million to clean up the 80 acres, Youngstown officials have said.

wilkinson@vindy.com


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