Council to Consider Build Grant, Amphitheater Items

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – City Council this week will consider items related to the $22 million rehabilitation of several downtown streets and to the new Youngstown Foundation Amphitheater.

On the agenda for council’s meeting Wednesday are two items pertaining to the downtown street project funded in part by the $10.8 million Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development, or Build, grant awarded last December by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Members will consider legislation authorizing the city’s Board of Control to negotiate and enter into a design services agreement for preliminary design services for the Build project and enter into a local participating agency agreement with Ohio’s Department of Transportation for the grant, according to the council agenda.

Local partners, including Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, Youngstown State University, the city of Youngstown, the Western Reserve Transit Authority and Mercy Health-Youngstown, applied for the grant to pay for improvements and upgrades to Fifth Avenue and other downtown streets.

Planned improvements include reducing the number of lanes on Fifth Avenue, upgrades to Commerce, Federal, Front and Phelps streets and Park Avenue, and adding transit waiting stations, as well as pedestrian and bicycle facilities.

The project will also include the implementation of autonomous shuttles serving downtown, Youngstown State University, St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital and the Joseph Co. International manufacturing and research complex on the East Side.

The consultant hired for the preliminary design services agreement will gather information and formalize the ideas for what local partners are trying to accomplish, then turn those into the documents needed to put out a design-build bid package, said Jim Kinnick, Eastgate’s executive director.

The goal is to have those documents ready to go out to bid in late winter or early spring, to have “shovels in the ground in spring of 2020,” he said.

“I think we are still shooting for final construction to be done end of 2021,” he added.

Council members will also consider authorizing the Board of Control to enter into a contract not to exceed $54,000 for the purchase and installation of a wireless audio system for the city-owned amphitheater and riverfront park now being built. The purchase agreement will include the audio system, audio control, cabling and support cabinetry.

The city plans a June 14 opening for the amphitheater.

Pictured: A rendering of the proposed improvements to Fifth Avenue, funded in part by the $10.8 million federal Build grant.

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