Businesses at and near the downtown intersection have seen a decline in customers

Business owners fume over closing of roads for $1M sewer project


A major sewer project that has shut down a key section of West Federal Street, one of downtown’s busiest roads, for the past two weeks has some business owners up in arms.

Some owners on and near West Federal and Phelps streets say city officials failed to give them notice that the $1 million project to replace storm and sanitary sewers would shut off that area and Phelps between West Commerce and West Boardman streets.

Robert Faraglia, owner of Roberto’s Italian Ristorante at 103 W. Federal St., found out that the section of the street where his business is located was closed Feb. 4, the day the project started. A portable toilet also was placed in front of his restaurant.

“It was a complete surprise,” he said.

Next to the portable toilet, which was removed two days after he contacted Councilwoman Annie Gillam, D-1st, were three large metal pipes that are being placed in the ground as part of this project.

Complaints to city officials about the pipes were ignored, Faraglia said. They were moved Thursday after Faraglia asked workers with Marucci and Gaffney Excavating, the Youngstown company doing the job, to relocate them.

“There are two buildings east of me that are vacant,” Faraglia said. “They could have put all the equipment over there. Instead, I had a port-o-john in front of my restaurant.”

The road closing has hurt business, particularly when the project started, he said.

West Federal between Hazel and Market streets is restricted to local traffic only and is completely closed at the Phelps intersection. Also, Phelps between West Commerce and West Boardman streets is closed though motorists can drive the wrong way up Phelps between West Boardman and West Federal to park there. Those streets will reopen Tuesday, said Charles Shasho, deputy director of the city’s public works department.

Phelps between West Federal and West Commerce should reopen in a couple of weeks, he said.

Read more in Saturday’s Vindicator

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