Downtown Youngstown streets to reopen at Paramount site Monday

By David Skolnick


Enough work will be completed at the demolition site of the former Paramount Theatre to open streets surrounding the downtown location Monday.

Striping the concrete parking lot and removing the metal fencing around the westbound portion of West Federal Street at Hazel Street, and along Hazel between West Federal and West Commerce streets will be done by early Monday. That will open those streets, closed since July 2, said Charles Shasho, deputy director of the city’s public works department.

Baumann Enterprises, the Garfield Heights contractor handling the job, experienced a variety of delays related to weather, problems with sewer tie-ins and needing more backfill than anticipated.

The project was to be finished Sept. 15, but Baumann requested and received an extension from the city to Nov. 15.

Mayor Charles Sammarone became so frustrated with the work not being finished that he had Law Director Anthony Farris send a letter Nov. 20 to the company stating the city intended to “terminate the contract” and penalize Baumann $1,000 per day until it was finished.

After Farris talked with William Baumann two days later, when The Vindicator wrote about the issue, it was decided that the company would have the work done by Nov. 29, weather permitting.

The weather didn’t permit, but enough work to open the parcel as a parking lot is done. That prompted Sammarone to send Baumann a letter Thursday thanking him “for your response to my concerns. Baumann Enterprises’ work has been diligent and dedicated over the past two weeks.”

But the job isn’t complete.

When it gets warmer, the company will put surface asphalt on the parking lot, Shasho said.

Also, fencing around the parking area — to be used at least for now at no cost to the customers for those going to city hall to pay water bills — should be installed in a couple of weeks, and a light pole for the area should be erected in less than a month, Shasho said.

Baumann’s fee of $721,000 to do the work is coming from a state grant. Because of the unforeseen problems, it’s likely the contractor’s bill will be more than that amount.

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