By Ed Runyan
As we enter the time of year when ice and snow begin to eat up the roads and turn them into an obstacle course, it may be comforting to those who drive in Warren to know that 65 residential streets are on a tentative list to receive repaving and other upgrades next summer.
Most of them are in the Northeast and Northwest areas of the city, according to a map released by the city engineering department.
The project comes courtesy of the $2.5 million bond issue approved by Warren City Council recently. The city also borrowed an additional $7 million to repair city buildings and purchase the Gibson Building on East Market Street.
The $2.5 million in road work is significant in a city that has not had any of its own money to spend on paving projects since 2007, said Paul Makosky, Warren director of engineering, planning and building.
“It’s an investment in the neighborhoods, and I believe it sustains property values,” he said.
From 2001 to 2007, the city spent between $300,000 and $1 million of its own money for road paving. But with finances tight in recent years, resulting in layoffs of safety forces, the city hasn’t had the money for roads.
The result is that residential streets — which receive almost no funds for improvements from the state and federal governments — have gotten bad, Makosky said.
It will be nice to fix up residential streets in the city next year because it is one of the services — along with safety — that residents most desire, Makosky said.
Makosky said an assessment by his department produced the list of 65 streets.
The list has been presented to various city officials, including the city administration, but Makosky said he’s not had any feedback yet.
“I’m sure during the next several months, we will add or remove some streets,” he said.
Furthermore, the list will change as a result of damage that will take place over the winter, said Enzo Cantalamessa, Warren safety-service director.
Most of the paving work done in the city in recent years has come from outside sources.
In 2013, the city has spent about $8.5 million in state and federal money on six projects affecting state and federal roads.
They include Niles Road ($360,000); Pine Avenue Southeast ($625,000); Parkman Road Northwest bridge ($4.6 million); Warren Greenway bike trail ($1.7 million); four walking-path projects along various parts of the Mahoning River ($600,000); and purchase of the right of way for a Parkman Road Northwest paving project ($500,000) that will be carried out next year. The city contributed about $200,000 toward these projects.
In 2014, the city will use nearly $6 million in state and federal money to repave part of Parkman Road Northwest; all of Palmyra Road, Highland Avenue and Main Avenue Southwest; and Youngstown Road from Patchen Avenue Southeast to North Road.
The city also gets about $300,000 per year in Community Development Block Grant money to spend on road improvements in low-income neighborhoods, which encompasses all but the northeast and northwest areas of the city.
Roads to get work with that money are Douglas, Maryland and Federal streets on the north end; Packard Street Northwest; Draper Street Southeast; Lener Avenue Southwest; part of McMyler Street Northwest near Parkman Road; and Prospect Avenue near Washington Street Northeast.