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V&M, Youngstown, Girard team up to beautify Route 422

Published: Sat, January 5, 2013 @ 12:07 a.m.

Youngstown, Girard, pipe mill collaborate to beautify Route 422

By Danny restivo



Motorists driving north on U.S. Route 422 might get the impression that steel mills never left the city.

On the western half of the one-mile stretch to Girard, clouds of smoke emanate from enormous industrial facilities. Dump trucks carrying heaps of scrap metal are a common sight.

It’s a familiar image for many older Valley residents, but for Joel Mastervich, V&M Star president and chief operating officer, it should not be mistaken as the same old type of work.

“We are not your father’s mill,” he said. “It’s not even a steel mill; it’s a pipe mill, and the business we are in is not the same as it was back in the day. We are in the energy business.”

In October, the new $1.1 billion facility produced its first batch of steel pipe to be used in the extraction of shale gas.

As the high-tech plant ramps up production, Youngstown, Girard and V&M are collaborating in an effort to beautify the area along Route 422.

In the fall, Girard and Youngstown were selected to receive a grant from the Eastgate Transportation Enhancement Program. The program utilizes federal funds to finance projects that enhance the area’s transportation systems.

Girard will receive $85,000 to fund beautification efforts at Interstate 80 and Route 422, while Youngstown will receive $115,000 for landscape and community signs at state Route 711 and Route 422.

A V&M spokesman said the company pledged $11,500 to the Youngstown site, and Girard Mayor Jim Melfi said his city would receive $17,000 from V&M.

“These are excellent projects,” said Melfi. “The company benefits, but also the community benefits.”

Mastervich said projects such as this are important because people from all over the world travel to see the new state-of-the-art pipe rolling facility.

“When people see blight, it’s a big deterrent,” he said. “People come from all over and they look around, and the impression we want them to take away is very important to the area.”

Vallourec, the parent company of V&M, is a French-based company that has 51 production mills in 20 countries, according to its website. Many of those facilities are in Europe, which share a history similar to Youngstown’s.

“There are a lot of Rust Belt cities in Europe like here,” said Mastervich. “Vallourec has sincere interest in sustainability efforts in all their plants, and it means cleaning up of industrial sites.”

One of those efforts included working with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to identify vegetation that could be cleared along the Mahoning River waterfront. He said Roger Lindgren Way, named after the former president of V&M, runs one mile parallel to the river and has been cleared to make a more aesthetically pleasing picture.

“We took out the dried and dead brush, and you can actually see the river from the road now,” said Mastervich.

Outside of Joint Economic Development District between Girard and Youngstown, officials are hoping to create the image of an eco-friendly industry, without the backdrop of blighted homes.

Presley L. Gillespie, executive director of the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp., said V&M has expressed interest in clearing more homes in the area. Gillespie said he met with V&M officials a couple of times, but an overall plan has not been laid out.

In 2009, V&M worked with Lien Forward Ohio, a Mahoning County effort to return vacant, abandoned, tax-delinquent homes to use. The organization concentrated on Brier Hill, which sits across Route 422.

Gillespie said V&M officials are interested in mimicking those efforts again.

“They are very interested in turning it up a notch,” said Gillespie. “We are certainly interested in working with one of our largest private investors in the city.”

Mastervich, Gillespie and Melfi all agreed that community support is vital to a cleaner corridor.

“We would like to get as much community interest as possible,” said Mastervich. “We don’t own the land, and we can’t do it all.”


1mouse(112 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

i just hope it is not just another " look good" on the outside to hide what's on the inside.
sounds like Mastervich wants to own more land... & maybe expect to get it for nothing.....
maybe i am just being overly cautious.....let's wait & see!

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2mouse(112 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

i just hope it is not just another " look good" on the outside to hide what's on the inside.

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3ytownsteelman(680 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Yes you are being overly cautious. V&M is sincere in their efforts.

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4steelwagon(284 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

I can understand Mouse's thinking.
Since the collapse of the steel industry we've all heard those "pie in the sky" promises .

That said I do however believe V&M is very sincere and will be a good corporate neighbor.
Recycle,repurpose and reuse is cost effective and benefits everyone.

Our valley has 35+ years of negetive images to over come and cleaning up a major corridor is an excellent starting point.

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5glbtactivist(321 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Another example of the federal government borrowing money, making us taxpayers pay interest, and then using in on a project that should never be taken on when the government is in debt. Another action that proves that the feds have no way to stop putting us in debt for non-critical spending. I guarantee V&M will leave the area with a contaminated mess when they leave in ten years.

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6republicanRick(1731 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

glbactivist, please go live on a farm like the amish do and leave the rest of us sane people here to enjoy life.

Go curl up in an unheated hut, eat raw veggies and count stars at night. The rest of us enjoy civilization.

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7Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

What a sad life you must have gibtactivist . So negative

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8JoeFromHubbard(1805 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

> > A V&M spokesman said the company pledged $11,500 to the Youngstown site, and Girard Mayor Jim Melfi said his city would receive $17,000 from V&M < <

Reminds me of YSU, the development centers upon where the money is concentrated and the area will be declared a "gem."

But, I guess that that is to be expected.

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9CongressWatcher(225 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

I think all the Mr. Mastervich is saying that we need to clear up some of the blight around the billion dollar facility they just put in. I think that that is a good thing. The value of what is left after the clean up will be much more. Close to business and highway access. Viva La V&M!

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10Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

You people complaining what this article is saying, cleaning up 422, must really hate life and something positive in it. I would really hate to be you's. Remember Life is way 2 Short to complain all the time. Look on the bright side for a change, would really do you wonders! Geez.

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