Funding for pool opening awaits OK from state


By DAVID SKOLNICK

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

A nonprofit organization wants to use federal stimulus funds to pay to open the city-owned North Side Pool and for Youngstown’s summer youth recreation programs.

Officials with the Mahoning-Youngstown Community Action Partnership will meet Friday in Columbus with representatives of the Ohio Department of Development’s Office of Community Affairs.

MYCAP officials will request a change in spending a portion of the $1,192,643 it received last year from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, also known as the federal stimulus package.

The DOD office must approve the proposed change to fund the pool and programs, said Wilma Torres, MYCAP’s director of planning and development.

MYCAP sent paperwork requesting the funding change to the DOD late Monday afternoon.

The documents didn’t include a cost breakdown of funding the pool and the summer programs, said Katie Sabatino, a DOD spokeswoman.

The pool “has the potential to be eligible” for stimulus dollars, Sabatino said. The department needs to review the documents sent Monday and meet with MYCAP officials Friday before a decision can be made on the request, she said.

Officials with MYCAP and the city want approval quickly because the youth programs and the pool season are scheduled to begin June 16.

“Hopefully it will all be approved Friday,” Torres said.

“If everything goes well, we’ll have the funding by Friday, but you never know with the state,” said Richard Atkinson, chairman of MYCAP’s board of trustees.

The city has volunteers who are helping to organize the programs and will hire them and others as soon as the state gives the go-ahead, said Jason Whitehead, director of the park and recreation commission and the mayor’s chief of staff.

“We’re also working on the pool,” he said. “We’re progressing as if we are going to open on the 16th.”

MYCAP was awarded the federal money a year ago to partner with other nonprofits and government entities to supplement programs, particularly for energy and youth programs.

A business development program that was going to use federal stimulus funds fell through allowing MYCAP to provide money to the cash-strapped city for the programs and to reopen the pool, Torres said.

Facing a budget shortfall, the city eliminated funding for the pool and the youth programs.

Whitehead couldn’t say Monday how much is needed to pay for the programs and the pool. He pegged the cost at $300,000 two weeks ago.

The city will hire about 30 part-time temporary workers for the recreation programs at seven parks and the pool. The programs and pool season end Aug. 11.

Those wanting to register for the summer youth programs can do so by calling the park and recreation department at 330-742-8711 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, or they can do so at the pavilions at Crandall Park on Redondo Road on the city’s North Side or at Fosterville Park on West Indianola Avenue on the South Side between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

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