Youngstown committee wants lights removed from downtown business

By David Skolnick


A city committee ordered the removal of rope lights that spell out “Knox” on the front of a downtown bar and restaurant.

The Design Review Committee unanimously voted Tuesday to deny a request from Jacob Harver, co-owner of the Knox Building, formerly called the Lemon Grove, to keep the lights on the establishment at 110 W. Federal St., and having the zoning department send him a letter ordering the removal as soon as possible.

Harver was scheduled for a committee hearing at 9:40 a.m. When he didn’t show, the committee denied his request. Harver appeared at the meeting on the 6th floor of city hall about 9:47 a.m.

But as members left, they said it would not have mattered if Harver were on time, as the lights need to be removed because they aren’t in compliance with city code.

“There’s loose wiring, a lack of a conduit, extension cords, etc., etc.,” said Dave Kosec, a committee member.

City officials contacted Harver because he put the lighting up without getting permission, said Bill D’Avignon, DRC chairman.

The committee oversees exterior work in the city’s downtown, uptown and surrounding areas.

Harver said the lighting was only temporary, and he planned to replace it even before the committee’s decision.

The business changed its name and business model in August for the third time in four months.

After four years using the Lemon Grove name, Harver said he wants a “fresh branding” of the business and chose the Knox Building because it was the location of an S.H. Knox Co. five-and-dime store that opened in the late 19th century and was rebuilt in 1909 after a fire destroyed the building.

Harver partnered with George Lenahan to open the Lemon Grove at its current location in June 2012. The name was changed to Guy’s at the Grove in May 2013.

The Lemon Grove opened at 122 W. Federal St. in June 2009.

Also Tuesday, the committee approved a plan by DiRusso’s Sausage to rehabilitate a portion of the former G.F. Trucking building at 1028 W. Rayen Ave. The vacant building is across the street from DiRusso and would be used by the company for storage.

DiRusso already has demolished portions of the building that couldn’t be safely used.

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