Youngstown council weighs $5M ARP allocation

YOUNGSTOWN — City council will consider Wednesday a $5 million American Rescue Fund expenditure to design an interceptor sewer to keep wastewater from flowing into Mill Creek Park.

It is Youngstown’s largest single project allocation from the $82,775,370 it received from the federal program.

The ordinance, sponsored by Mayor Jamael Tito Brown, also would permit the board of control to enter into contractual agreements for the design work.

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 had originally 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.

The city has allocated larger amounts of its ARP funding, specifically $14 million to city council members to spend on ward projects — $2 million for each of the seven members — and $10.5 million for improvements to city parks.

But those dollars are for multiple projects while the interceptor sewer design work is for one purpose.

Also Wednesday, council will consider six other requests to spend ARP money.

Three of the requests, 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.

Councilman Julius Oliver, D-1st Ward, is seeking $230,000 in ARP funding from his $2 million allocation for three projects.

Oliver wants $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.

Oliver also is asking 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.

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

The board of control on Friday approved Oliver’s legislation to spend $150,000 in ARP funds to have the Western Reserve Port Authority purchase 64 Ridge Ave., a former medical building, to turn it into a community center and business incubator.


Council will consider an ordinance Wednesday to pay $2 million to Simon Roofing of Youngstown to make emergency repairs to the roof of the city-owned Covelli Centre at a cost of $1.7 million and to the roof of the city’s traffic sign and signal shop at a cost of $300,000.

Ice and snow have caused extensive damage to the center’s roof, Finance Director Kyle Miasek said. Also, water is leaking into the center’s kitchen and into some of the loges, he said.

Because of materials needed and lack of availability, the project likely won’t start until next spring, Charles Shasho, deputy director of public works said.

There would likely be scaffolding erected in December or January, Miasek said.

Also, council will vote Wednesday on 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.”

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


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today