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Upgrades to downtown to begin in spring

YOUNGSTOWN — A nearly $16 million improvement project to numerous downtown and nearby streets will begin this spring.

The city’s board of control approved a $15,791,100 contract Thursday with Marucci and Gaffney Excavating Co. of Youngstown for the work. The other bid of $18,350,100 was submitted by S.E.T. Inc. of Lowellville.

The city’s estimate for the work was $18,390,500.

The contract runs through 2023.

Projects this year include paving Fifth Avenue from the Madison Avenue Expressway to Park Avenue, Park Avenue from Fifth Avenue to St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital, and Phelps Street from Federal Street to the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre.

In 2022, Front Street from Vindicator Square to South Avenue will be addressed.

That project includes paving, new lighting, streetscaping, adding a multi-use path and reducing what is now two to three lanes in each direction to one in each direction with a turning lane. Some traffic lights on the road were removed last year.

Also next year, Commerce Street from Fifth Avenue to Federal Street will be paved with streetscape work and sidewalk improvements.

In 2023, work will be done to Federal Street from Fifth Avenue to Walnut Street including paving, improved lighting, widening the sidewalk and possibly eliminating diagonal parking spots and replacing them with parallel spots.

Also in 2023, Rayen Avenue from Fifth Avenue to Walnut Street will be paved.

All of this is part of a $26 million to $31 million comprehensive project to improve streets downtown and near it.

The city, Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, Youngstown State University, Mercy Health-Youngstown and the Western Reserve Transit Authority announced Dec. 6, 2018, that they had received a $10.85 million federal BUILD (Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development) grant for its SMART2 (Strategic and Sustainable, Medical and Manufacturing, Academic and Arts, Residential and Recreation, and Technology and Training) Network.

The rest of the money is coming from other federal and state funds as well as dollars and in-kind services from the project’s partners.

As part of the SMART2 Network, work on the Fifth Avenue from West Federal Street to Eastbound Service Road started in July 2020 and is scheduled to be finished July 5.

Parella-Pannunzio Inc. of Austintown is the contractor on that $6,921,088 project.

The Fifth Avenue work reduces the number of lanes from two or three in each direction to one in each direction with turning lanes in several locations as well as new lighting and traffic signals, improves pedestrian crosswalks and adds of medians.

After all of the street projects are finished, the city will add an autonomous bus service.

Also Thursday, the board of control approved a $399,367 agreement with the Ohio Department of Transportation for improvements around five elementary schools as part of the Safe Routes to School Program.

The work, which will begin in a few months, includes sidewalk replacements, curb ramp installations, crosswalk striping and improved signage.

The elementary schools are: Harding, Martin Luther King Jr., Taft, Paul C. Bunn and Valley Christian.

dskolnick@tribtoday.com

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