Youngstown City Council rejects no-bid plan to fix Covelli Centre roof

YOUNGSTOWN — Saying they are concerned about giving a $2 million no-bid contract to a company to make emergency repairs to the roof of the Covelli Centre and the roof of the city’s traffic sign and signal shop, city council members unanimously rejected the administration’s request for that ordinance.

Council was asked Wednesday to approve the $2 million contract with Simon Roofing of Youngstown with $1.7 million going toward repairing the roof of the city-owned entertainment facility, and the rest to the sign and signal shop.

Because of materials needed and lack of availability, the Covelli project wasn’t going to start until next spring with the smaller job occurring this winter, Charles Shasho, deputy director of public works, said.

Council members questioned how it could be considered an emergency when the work wouldn’t be done for months.

Shasho said to seek formal requests for the work after Simon did a detailed study of the Covelli Centre roof would delay the project.

At first, council was going to amend the proposal during its meeting. But that was scrapped because changes to the ordinance couldn’t be written clearly before a vote.

Instead, council members said they will consider approving the legislation at its next meeting, Oct. 4, with plans to seek bids.

During an effort to convince council to go with the original plan to hire Simon, Shasho said the delay could push the center project into the summer and potentially could cause further damage to the building.

Water is leaking into the center’s kitchen and into some of the loges, Finance Director Kyle Miasek said.

Ice and snow have caused extensive damage to the center’s roof, he said.

“We can postpone it, but it could cost us more,” Miasek said.

The sign and signal shop work is needed, but that project isn’t nearly as complicated as the one at the center, Miasek said.

The idea was to put both projects together to save money, he said.

Councilman Pat Kelly, D-5th Ward, questioned how a project that wouldn’t start for months constitutes an emergency and said he’s “all for the bidding process.”


Council on Wednesday approved a number of funding requests from its American Rescue Plan allocation including the largest for a single project.

That largest amount is $5 million to design an interceptor sewer to keep wastewater from flowing into Mill Creek Park.

The actual work would cost about $60 million to $70 million, Shasho said, and take about six to seven years to complete.

The interceptor sewer work is part of the city’s $160 million worth of wastewater improvements it is required to do under a 2014 settlement it reached with the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA originally had ordered the city in 2002 to do $310 million worth of work, but it was negotiated down to $160 million in 2014 with the expectation it would be finished in 20 years.

The city is trying to get that price tag lowered with officials saying it is too high. But federal authorities have rejected those requests.

The first phase, which is mostly done, improves the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

The city has skipped the second phase, which is a new facility near the treatment plant to better control sewage in heavier rainfalls; and is starting to moving ahead with the third phase. The third phase is to replace 13 lines that dump wastewater into Mill Creek and build an interceptor.

The design work is expected to start next year.

Three of the other ARP allocations, totaling $167,800, will be to demolish 12 asbestos-filled residential structures.

Those dollars are coming from a $3 million ARP allocation council approved for demolition work in the city.

The city has spent about $1 million of those ARP funds for demolition so far, said Michael Durkin, the city’s code enforcement and blight remediation superintendent.

Council approved two ARP requests sponsored by Councilman Julius Oliver, D-1st Ward, from his $2 million pot of the federal funding.

One is for $100,000 for Family & Community Services Inc. to build a living facility for homeless veterans out of large shipping containers on the corner of West Warren Avenue and Hillman Street. Family & Community Services says it already has $850,000 toward the project.

The other is $30,000 for the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation to have a seven-month consulting agreement to help develop a job training youth education center.

Oliver wanted $100,000 for New Bethel Baptist Church on Hillman Street for the second phase of its expansion project. The money would be used to renovate the church’s former sanctuary and turn it into a multipurpose community center. But because the legislation didn’t list a fiscal agent for the project, the proposal received only a first reading Wednesday.


Council voted in support of a resolution “strongly opposing” the issuance by the Ohio EPA of a permit to SOBE Thermal Energy Systems LLC.

SOBE wants to shred tires that would be converted into gas to provide steam energy at its plant at 205 North Ave., a short distance from the city’s downtown.

The project needs state EPA approval for permits to move forward.

The council resolution states that “the allowance of such untested and dangerous technology would have a long-term disastrous environmental impact in Youngstown in contravention of the city’s determination to have environmental equity and a safe community.”

Before the vote, 11 members of the public spoke in support of the resolution.

The state EPA had a lengthy public meeting Aug. 10 to receive public feedback on the proposal with most in attendance opposing the project.


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