Youngstown committee approves request for a business to erect a concrete fence with razor wire

By David Skolnick


The city’s design review committee approved requests for new signs for a restaurant, exterior painting on a downtown building, a vinyl sign, and an 8-foot-high concrete-block fence with razor wire on top for a wholesale produce-distribution business.

The latter request, approved Tuesday by the committee, came from American Farms Produce II Inc. at 87 Brooklyn Ave. on the city’s South Side.

“The reason for razor wire is thefts,” said Chris Herubin, the company’s president. “This year, it’s been really bad.”

Criminals recently cut cables on two of the company’s trucks to steal batteries, stole others without cutting the cables, and broke the building’s windows, he said.

“That was a $7,000 week for me,” said Herubin, who added the fence will cost $16,000 to erect, he said.

On a written request for the concrete fence with razor wire, Herubin wrote that it’s “necessary to keep my business in the city. American Farms has had multiple incidents with vandalism and theft of batteries on trucks.”

A chain-link fence would be a waste of money because criminals would cut through it, he said.

“I don’t want to give the wrong message, but he’s in the city, and has a right to protect his property,” said Ray DeCarlo, the city’s zoning specialist who conducted Tuesday’s DRC meeting.

The last business to get approval for razor wire on top of a fence was Ludt’s Towing on Wilson Avenue about eight or nine years ago, DeCarlo said.

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

Also Tuesday, the committee approved the following:

New signs for Hot Head Burritos at 315 Elm St., the former location of Mighty Moe’s.

A new exterior paint job at FEIC Financial Inc., 147 W. Federal St.

A 12-foot-by-40-foot vinyl sign at the Youngstown Business Incubator, 241 W. Federal St., that touts it as the 11th best university-affiliated incubator in the world by the University Business Incubator Index. The sign will be up for about a year.

A thermometer sign on the city’s Central Square for the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley to show how much money has been raised toward the agency’s annual fundraising effort. The sign would be up until January.

Two movable spotlights outside Liquid Blu, 21 W. Federal St., that would attract attention to the downtown nightclub.

Also, Charles Shasho, deputy director of the city’s public works department, said that work at the site of the former Paramount Theatre at West Federal and Hazel streets should be done by the end of the month. The structure is gone, and the site is being backfilled by Baumann Enterprises, the contractor for the work.

It will be a parking lot by the end of the month, Shasho said.

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