Economic Development

City Continues Land Purchases in Chill-Can Area

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The city Board of Control purchased another piece of land in the Near East Side Urban Renewal Area, where the Joseph Co. International plans to develop a $20 million manufacturing plant and research center for its chill-can line.

At its meeting Thursday morning, the board approved paying Bradie G. Higgs $800 for the property.

The city has been acquiring property for months for the proposed project as it works to reach agreements with owners. “There were a handful of vacant parcels that we’ve had some trouble tracking down the owner or families,” T. Sharon Woodberry, director of community planning and economic development.

The city has purchased some properties from willing sellers, as in this case, although it has the option of court action to acquire properties through eminent domain. “If we can do it without court action, it’s much cheaper that way,” she said.

“We have acquired everything that’s necessary for the project to be constructed,” said Finance Director David Bozanich, a board of control member. “However, there are some additional beautification areas that the company may be interested in in the future.”

The city still has to transfer some of the land it’s acquired for the project to the developer but is waiting for additional documentation before doing so, Woodberry said.

The city also entered into agreements with the Youngstown City School District to tear down the former Harrison Elementary School, which was partially damaged by fire recently. The school district will reimburse the city the $93,034.50 cost of asbestos abatement and demolition.

The board approved paying Safe Air Contractors Inc., Mentor, $79,409 for asbestos abatement at the site. The city street department will perform the demolition work.

The school district also had received a $210,000 proposal to demolish the building, and the city already had demolished the gymnasium portion of the structure, said Denise Dick, district spokeswoman.

“The district’s deductible is $75,000. The insurance company is paying the remainder and it liked the $93,000 estimate from the city,” she remarked.

Abatement is expected to begin by Jan. 31 and take about two weeks, Abigail Beniston, code enforcement and blight remediation superintendent. Demolition will get underway once the abatement work is finished.

There are no definite plans for the site once the school building is demolished. “There have been discussions about turning it into a community garden, but nothing is firm,” Dick added.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.