Youngstown hopes to get federal funding to clean up Masters Tuxedo site


EPA to test Masters Tuxedo location for contaminants

By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

The city is asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to do testing of the site of the former Masters Tuxedo, destroyed in an April fire, for contaminants with the hope that federal funding can be obtained to clean up and redevelop the location.

The board of control has a special meeting at 9 a.m. today to enter into an agreement with the EPA for the testing.

The building at 3600 Market St., vacant since 2002, burned to the ground in a suspicious fire.

The city has tried for years, with no success, to redevelop the building before the fire. The city gained ownership of the building in 2010 after it went through a foreclosure. There was a failed attempt to turn it into a certified nursing-assistant training center in 2014.

But T. Sharon Woodberry, the city’s director of community planning and economic development, said there is hope the property can be used.

The city is asking the EPA to conduct testing of the site to determine what types of contaminants are on the property – related to the use of dry-cleaning chemicals – and then seek a federal grant to clean it up, she said.

“We hope to obtain federal funding and redevelop the property,” Woodberry said. “We want to see what’s there in the ground, get the EPA’s technical assistance and determine what steps are needed for additional remediation. This is just testing at this point. From the testing, those results will determine what needs to be done. After it’s remediated, the city can market that site.”

She didn’t have a timeline for how long it would take to have the location cleaned up if the city is successful in obtaining funding for that purpose.

The first Masters Tuxedo opened in 1949 on East Commerce Street in downtown Youngstown. It grew to 70 stores in nine states and the District of Columbia and supplied formal-wear for three-consecutive presidential inaugurations, ending with the January 1993 inauguration of Bill Clinton. The business was sold in 1998, with the 3600 Market St. store closing in 2002.

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