City Considers Courts Space for Development Office

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The city’s community planning and economic development office could move back into City Hall once the municipal courts relocate to the City Hall Annex, but the plan isn’t set in stone, Mayor Jamael Tito Brown said.

Work on the annex to accommodate the city courts, clerk of courts and health department is nearing completion, Charles Shasho, deputy director of public works, said Thursday. The departments will relocate in April, he said.

The city Board of Control approved paying Carney McNicholas Inc. $45,230 to move the departments.

“There’s a little bit of electrical work to do. They’re basically just running the punch list items now,” Shasho said.

Former Mayor John McNally had intended to relocate community planning and economic development from the suite it now occupies in 20 Federal Place, which the city owns, into the space being vacated by the courts and clerk of courts.

“We’re looking for how to utilize that space better. Planning and economic development is one option as well as the police department getting better space,” Brown said.

Brown said his intention is to bring the development department into City Hall, in addition to as many other city departments now outside the building. In addition to community planning and economic development, the building and grounds department and Green Youngstown are located in 20 Federal Place.

“That’s prime retail space,” he said.

What departments actually move into the former courts’ space will depend on how it can be divided, and an assessment is under way now, the mayor said. “I’d like to bring as many City Hall employees back to City Hall as possible,” he said.

At its meeting, the board also approved the final $25,000 payment to the Youngstown Business Incubator to support its five-year campaign.

In December, YBI opened the fifth building of its downtown Youngstown campus.

“We’re hopeful that the incubator will continue with its expansion and they’re able to lure more businesses onto their campus,” Kyle Miasek, interim finance director, said.

Barb Ewing, YBI’s CEO, expressed her gratitude for the city’s “substantial” commitment to the incubator during a phone interview following Thursday’s meeting. Local support is important to demonstrate as YBI reaches out to larger funders, she said.

“While there is a common perception that because we get state and federal dollars that we don’t need any local money, the reality is just about every program requires a local match,” she said. “Local commitment is critical for us to be able to continue the work that we do.”

Pictured: The City Hall Annex building is begin renovated for the municipal courts, clerk of courts office and health department to move in by late April.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.