Youngstown board to hold special vote

Amber White looks to repeal predecessors project

YOUNGSTOWN — With Youngstown Councilwoman Amber White again seeking Wednesday to repeal $1.3 million in American Rescue Plan spending her predecessor got approved in her last meeting for a park project, the board of control called a special meeting for earlier that day to vote on signing the contract.

The request by White, I-7th Ward, for council Wednesday to repeal legislation it approved Dec. 20 at the request of Basia Adamczak during her final meeting on city council is almost certainly going to fail as it did during White’s first attempt Feb. 21.

White’s request to repeal the $1.3 million for the Youngstown Foundation to serve as fiscal agent to turn Ipe Park into the city’s first all-inclusive park was included in council’s legislative package, distributed last Wednesday, for its 5:30 p.m. meeting this upcoming Wednesday.

The board of control on Monday afternoon called a special meeting for 9 a.m. Wednesday — eight and a half hours prior to council’s meeting — to enter into the fiscal agreement with the Youngstown Foundation for the $1.3 million park project.

Attempts on Monday by The Vindicator to reach White and Mayor Jamael Tito Brown were unsuccessful.

But the move is an obvious attempt by the Brown administration to kill White’s second effort to repeal the ARP expenditure despite its near-certain rejection.

White posted Thursday on Facebook that she “had to make a very tough decision” to again sponsor the repeal “due to the continued lack of information regarding” the Ipe project.

She added, “We are now into the second quarter of the new year and even after the one year of previous work, I still have only vague details about the project to show the residents.”

White contends people were misled about a matching $1.3 million and recently a resident told her Ipe on East Midlothian Boulevard was never researched for how an all-inclusive park specializing in autism would fit at this location.

White added “There was never any documentation of questions asked by the residents of what they would like to see done at the parks. We do not even know how much this park will cost. I have asked, residents have asked and still nothing.”

She urged people to request to speak in front of council Wednesday in opposition to the park.

“When all I hear continuously is upset residents about this chosen location and lack of information, I have to do what the majority wants,” White wrote in the Facebook post.

Councilman Julius Oliver, D-1st Ward, said, “I stand with the mayor and the citizens of the 7th Ward. What’s going on is ridiculous. Let it go.”

White has also again requested that council repeal $52,000 for neighborhood block watches through the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp.

When White tried to convince council to repeal both of those pieces of legislation Feb. 21, only she and Councilwoman Samantha Turner, D-3rd Ward, voted in support of the requests. The other five council members voted to keep the funding intact and there is no indication any of them will change those votes Wednesday.

But if the board of control signs a contract earlier that day, it wouldn’t matter.

White objected to Adamczak — a Democrat who represented the 7th Ward for eight years and lost to White by eight votes — sponsoring legislation during her last meeting, Dec. 20, to spend $1,443,074, which depleted the rest of the ward’s $2 million ARP allocation.

Legislation sponsored by Adamczak to spend the rest of her ward’s ARP funds was approved with Turner casting the lone “no” vote for the Ipe request and the $52,000 for the block watches.

During her last meeting, Adamczak said she had worked on the ARP projects, particularly Ipe, for a long time and plenty of the money was going into the neighborhoods. She also said the decisions came after she met with residents in her ward.

White said residents in the ward she’s spoken to weren’t asked about the project.


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