Youngstown weighs moving cop divisions, CIRV, development dept.


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By DAVID SKOLNICK

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

With the re

location of the court system to the city hall annex, the second floor of city hall has sat vacant for about

21⁄2 months.

But the city is considering moving a couple of police department divisions – with the detective bureau definitely one of them – to that space as soon as the next few months, said Mayor Jamael Tito Brown. The police department is in a building attached to city hall on West Boardman Street.

“They’re overcrowded [at the police department] and the space is outdated,” Brown said. “We’d like to have it in action in the next few months, but there’s no hard date yet. We’re exploring what to keep and what to retrofit.”

How will the city, which is projected to have a

$16 million deficit in its general fund by 2023, pay for the move?

“A lot of work will be done internally,” Brown said. “We don’t have the money to go outside. We’ll rely on the maintenance department. There may be federal grants in place” to offset some of the cost.

Police Chief Robin Lees said, “Any move of police units into the main building will depend on [the] financial ability to renovate the old court area.”

The city also plans to have its Community Initiative to Reduce Violence [CIRV] program, which attempts to curb violence in the city, use one of the second-floor courtrooms for community-meeting space, Brown said. Right now, those meetings are in city council chambers on the sixth floor, the same floor where CIRV is currently located.

“A courtroom space would be more conducive to what CIRV does,” he said.

Another possibility is moving the community planning and economic development department from the sixth floor of the city-owned 20 Federal Place office building on West Federal Street to either city hall’s second or fourth floors, Brown said.

There is space on the fourth floor because the city prosecutor’s office moved from there to the city hall annex.

“The sixth floor of 20 Federal Place is a prime location for a business; it’s great real estate,” said Brown, explaining why the city department is likely to move.

The municipal court relocated from city hall’s second floor April 30 to the city hall annex building on Front Street after a $9 million renovation project. Shortly after that, the city health department and clerk of courts moved to the annex from Oakhill Renaissance Place on Oak Hill Avenue and the second floor of city hall, respectively.

For years, judges had complained about the court facility at city hall.

The judges filed a complaint with the Ohio Supreme Court in 2009 stating the court, among other issues, was too small and unsafe as there was no way to keep witnesses separate from those in the courtrooms. Security problems reached a peak during a July 2010 brawl in the hallway between family member s of a suspect and a murder victim.

The city’s three branches of government reached an agreement in June 2015 to relocate the court and clerk of courts to the annex.

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