City to Demolish Former ‘Wick Six’ Dealerships

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The decaying remnants of Wick Six automobile showrooms could come down next year, city officials say.

At its meeting Thursday, the city Board of Control approved a $49,412 contract with MS Consultants Inc., Youngstown, to perform Phase I and partial Phase II environmental assessments on several Wick Avenue parcels owned by the city but once occupied by car dealerships.

The first phase is to be completed by Nov. 20, the second phase by Dec. 4, said Abigail Beniston, code enforcement and blight remediation superintendent.

The Phase I assessment basically involves researching paperwork on the sites while the succeeding phase involves physical inspections of the sites to determine what contaminants might be there and the presence of any underground tanks, said Charles Shasho, deputy director of public works. The area covered by the assessments includes at least three buildings, he said.

The assessments are required before the city can demolish the remaining structures and clean the sites for future redevelopment, Beniston said.

Early this year, Mayor John McNally articulated that improvements such as resurfacing the corridors that lead into the downtown, including Wick Avenue, are a priority.

This week, the John S. and Doris M. Andrews Trust announced it is donating $250,000 for lighting improvements along the corridor.

Shasho estimated the cost of razing the structures and cleaning the sites lies between $600,000 and $700,000. “If there’s soil contamination or underground tanks,” he said, “that’s going to go up, obviously.”

Whether the structures can be demolished next year “depends on what we find in the environmental testing,” he added.

The city would pay for any demolition and cleanup out of community development funds, Beniston said. She believes T. Sharon Woodberry, Youngstown director of community planning and economic development, is working on finding businesses interested in developing the property once it’s cleared, she added.

The city is also working to foreclose a property on a nearby block where the structure was demolished because of a fire about a year ago, she said.

The Board of Control entered into a façade renovation agreement with Sterling-McCullough Williams Funeral Home, 623 Belmont Ave. The agreement provides a grant not to exceed $20,000 to paint the building, install a decorative iron fence with pillars, install exterior lighting, and landscape and fence the remainder of the property with a chain link fence.

The total project cost is projected to run $53,000, according to city documents.

Pictured: The auto dealerships on Wick Avenue, marketed as the “Wick Six,” closed decades ago when the city’s auto row moved to Boardman.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.