Economic Development

Council OKs Amphitheater Contract, Fireline Incentives

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – City Council last night approved hiring a Columbus firm to provide final design and construction management services for the $9 million amphitheater and riverfront park project.

During the meeting, council also approved several items to assist Fireline Inc. with its $5.7 million expansion project, including a tax abatement and water/wastewater grant.

Council voted to authorize the city Board of Control to negotiate and enter into a professional services agreement with Columbus-based MKSK for work on the amphitheater project. The ordinance authorizes the city to pay up to $800,000 for the firm’s services.

In August 2015, the city entered in to a $141,000 contract with the landscape architecture firm to develop a master plan for the project and examine ways to link Phelps and Hazel streets to the amphitheater.

Mayor John McNally, who offered last night’s legislation but was unable to attend the council meeting, said soil compaction work at the project site should be completed this spring. He also said the city needs to get a permit to install from the Ohio Protection Agency for a new sewer line to replace and relocate the existing one at the project site.

“That will be done late this year or spring 2018,” he said.

Finance Director David Bozanich said Tuesday that he expects portions of the work to be bid this year and the remainder in early 2018. The city envisions opening the amphitheater and riverfront park by May of that year.

Council also approved a set of incentives to assist Fireline Inc. with its 25,000-square-foot addition, which the company expects to get underway in April and have completed later this year. The addition is the first phase of a proposed 76,000-square-foot expansion the company has planned over the next 15 to 20 years.

The incentives include a water/wastewater grant of up to $350,000, the sale of property on Oak Street that will be used for parking, primarily during construction of the expansion, and a 10-year, 75% abatement of real property taxes for the $5.7 million project.

In other business. Council approved a resolution supporting the proposed Mahoning Valley Innovation & Commercialization Center, a manufacturing training center to be located in the Smoky Hollow neighborhood.

The training center would house $10 million in advanced manufacturing equipment, including 3-D printers, milling machines and other assets. Partners include Youngstown State University, Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition and other area educational institutions and incubators.

The city’s initial role with the project was to assist with efforts to identify a site and to secure funds through the state’s Local Government Innovation Fund to pay for architecture and engineering services needed to assess the feasibility of proposed sites, said T. Sharon Woodberry, the city’s director of community planning and economic development.

“Additional assistance toward the project is undetermined,” she continued. “Funding sources will need to be identified. If there is a gap to be filled, we will consider then the appropriate level of assistance.”

In addition, council members voted to approve advertising for bids and entering into a contract for asbestos abatement, demolition, site clearance, backfill, grading and seeding of structures throughout the city this year. The work, which the ordinance caps at $3.5 million, will be paid for through the environmental sanitation fund.

The city has identified approximately 280 residential sites, as well as 20 commercial sites on some of the city’s major commercial corridors including South Avenue, Market Street and Belmont Avenue, McNally said.

Earlier this month, the mayor announced a goal of taking down 518 structures this year.

Pictured: Site preparation proceeds on the land where the amphitheater and park would be built.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.