City Approves Grant Agreement for Boardman, Walnut Work

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – A city official expects bids in about a year for nearly $2.9 million in upgrades to two downtown streets.

The city’s Board of Control Thursday morning approved entering into a project grant agreement with the Ohio Public Works Commission for $1.3 million in state capital improvement funds for safety upgrades to Walnut and Boardman streets. 

The city is providing nearly $1.6 million in matching funds, including some federal funds, Charles Shasho, deputy director of public works, said. He is eyeing putting the project out for bid in summer 2023. Design work likely will take place over the winter.

“Frankly, I’m not in a huge hurry to tear up another road in town,” he remarked. “I want Commerce and Front [streets] complete before we start that. Federal is starting here soon.”

Those are among several downtown streets that now under construction – or are going to be – as part of the $27.65 million Smart2 – or Strategic & Sustainable, Medical & Manufacturing, Academic & Arts, Residential & Recreational, Technology & Training – Network project. 

Work under the project will include rehabilitating the streets, curb upgrades, and additional landscaping and lighting, Shasho said. Replacing the now-closed stretch of Walnut from Commerce Street up the hill to Wood with a staircase similar to the one on North Phelps Street remains under consideration, but depends on whether there is enough money in the budget for it.

“We do want to make a connection up there,” he said.

The board also approved a $24,000 contract with Pecchia Communications, Canfield, to provide communications services related to the city’s use of the $82.7 million it received in American Rescue Plan funds.

The company will work with the ARP committee, said Mayor Jamael Tito Brown, the board of control’s chairman.

“They’re going to be communicating what’s going on with that process. We’ve been trying to get that information out,” Brown said.  

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.