Board of Control Approves $500K+ in ARP Spending

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The city’s Board of Control approved spending more than $500,000 in American Rescue Plan funds at its meeting Thursday.

Youngstown CityScape was awarded more than $200,000 total — $187,500 for matching funds for Appalachian Regional Commission funding for the CityScape at Briel’s project and $25,000 for matching funds for an operational funding grant from the Youngstown Foundation.

In 2021, CityScape acquired the former Briel’s Flowers and Greenhouse property, 22-26 S. Belle Vista Ave., with plans to grow its own plants and flowers for its annual Streetscape downtown beautification event and retail sale, as well as to provide job-training opportunities.

Youngstown CityScape will use the money – the city grant combined with $187,500 in ARC funding – renovate the house adjacent to the greenhouse to serve as a community center that will offer services including workforce development for returning citizens, Sharon Letson, CityScape executive director, said.

“There’s going to be a kitchen in there. People are going to be able to have meetings there,” she said.

The other $25,000 grant will provide matching funds for a $50,000 operating grant from the Youngstown Foundation, she said.

Both grants will come out of the 3rd Ward’s ARP allocation. City Council earlier this year approved designating $2 million for projects in each of the city’s seven wards out of the city’s $82.7 million ARP allocation. 

The board also approved entering into a $200,000 professional services agreement with the Western Reserve Port Authority to administer the Mahoning Avenue Redevelopment Project. Under the agreement, which WRPA’s board of directors approved Wednesday, the port authority will provide services including property acquisition, remediation, greening and cleanup along the Mahoning Avenue corridor.  

The agreement builds upon the memorandum of understanding the city already has with the port authority to assist with land acquisition and economic development, according to Nikki Posterli, chief of staff to Mayor Jamael Tito Brown and director of the city’s department of community planning and economic development.

“It gives us the ability to do things that we wish we could have done prior to the pandemic. Now we finally have the means to put some action to what we’ve wanted to do for a long time,” she said.

Additionally, the board approved entering into a professional services agreement with Youngstown Neighborhood Development corp. to administer roof and house repairs for designated low-income homeowners in the 5th Ward. YNDC will be paid $94,000 for the work.

Funding for the WRPA contract will come out of the 4th Ward ARP allocation and the YNDC contract will be paid out of the 5th Ward’s funds.

In other business, the board approved a $160,000 contract with MS Consultants to provide construction management services for demolition and remediation work at 20 Federal Place.

At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, council members approved seeking bids and entering into an agreement for the 20 Federal demolition and remediation, not to exceed $6.25 million, part of the estimated $74 million renovation of the city-owned building.

Bids should go out sometime next month and construction work should get under way sometime in January, Charles Shasho, deputy director of public works, said.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.