Economic Development

CityScape, City Reach Agreement for Church Site

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Youngstown CityScape’s executive director expects the new site for the former Welsh Congregational Church to be prepared for the building’s move by the end of summer.

The North Hazel Street site – on city-owned property known as “the Wedge” adjacent to the Youngstown Historical Center for Industry and Labor – was confirmed Thursday morning as the relocation site for the 158-year-old building. 

The city Board of Control, at its meeting Thursday, approved a memorandum of understanding between the city and CityScape for the renovation of the former church, which will take place at the North Hazel Street property. The city will lease the site to Youngstown CityScape for $1 for 99 years, ending May 29, 2118.  

“This was our first step, to come to an agreement with the city,” said Sharon Letson, Youngstown CityScape executive director. 

A foundation for the church needs to be set before the move, Letson said. She expects the foundation to be laid and the move to take place sometime this summer. The church sits on property owned by the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown, she said, and the diocese has plans for the site.

The property was one of several sites that were under consideration, Mayor Jamael Tito Brown said.

“They’re ready for something like this to happen,” Brown said. 

Letson added that the list of possible sites was limited by physical constraints such as the presence of power lines. Last year, CityScape planned on moving the church to a site near Wick Park, but that fell through, she said.

A donation to Youngstown CityScape by Roberta Hannay, a descendant of the Wick family, will fund the relocation of the church building, Letson reported. She declined to specify the amount of the donation but said it should be sufficient to cover the cost.

The next step is to gather involved stakeholders – including the company contracted to move the church, Ohio Edison and Faniro Architects – to make sure that the site will work. 

“We’ve not gotten very far because we didn’t want to invest a lot if we weren’t going to be able to do that,” Letson said. “We’re thrilled to finally get to this point and our donor is thrilled because she’s been wanting to get to this point as well.”  

Early plans for the building, which CityScape will own and operate, include use as community space, Letson said. “We want to be open-minded and explore our options, but for all intents and purposes it will be community space,” she said.

The Board of Control also approved spending on work and items related to the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre and 20 Federal Place. 

Additions and deductions to the city’s contract with Brock Builders Inc. for work at the amphitheater resulted in a net addition of $54,945, bringing the total contract to just over $7.95 million. 

Alterations requested by the city included electrical work, the addition of a flagpole and lighting, and changes to the promenade and parking lot, said Charles Shasho, deputy director of public works. 

The board approved a separate payment of $6,378 to Brock Builders for removal of a manhole over the 84-inch sanitary sewer line at the amphitheater site, work not covered by the original contract. 

The board is also paying $7,436 to Marco Promos for 350 nylon chairs with padded arms, cup rests and carry bag for VIP lawn seating at the amphitheater, and $10,159 to Leppo Equipment for a new utility vehicle for use at the site.

In addition, the board approved hiring Strollo Architects for architectural and engineering services for a new roof at the city-owned 20 Federal Place. 

The firm will assess what work needs to be done on the roof, which is leaking, and what repairs or replacement will cost, said Kyle Miasek, deputy finance director.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.