Economic Development

Work Crews Prepare Site for Amphitheater Project

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Piles of earth stand more than 15 feet high across an empty landscape that was once part of one of the most industrialized corridors in the country.

About 10 pieces of heavy machinery – flat rollers, dump trucks and front loaders – and as many operators were busy on a warm afternoon in May performing excavation on roughly 15 acres along the Mahoning River just west of the Market Street Bridge.

The site, once home to Wean United Corp. and other industrial concerns throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, is mostly cleared to make way for construction of the Youngstown amphitheater and riverfront park.

“Right now, the work on the site is related to the replacement of an 84-inch sewer line,” says Charles Shasho, the city deputy director of public works. The brick-lined sewer was constructed around the turn of the 20th century and bisects land where most of the development will occur.

Shasho says the sewer will be relocated to the south, closer to the railroad tracks and the river. The sewer is to be replaced with a 96-inch line that runs parallel with the river. Rudzik Excavating of Struthers is the contractor on replacing the sewer.

The sewer work should be completed in about five to six weeks, Shasho says. “There are some ancillary sewer lines that need tied in and moved but we expect it to be finished by mid-June.”

Once the sewer line is relocated and replaced, foundation work on the Youngstown amphitheater could begin. The project, spearheaded by the landscape and urban planning firm MKSK Architects in Columbus, involves development of the amphitheater at the base of Phelps Street, restrooms, concessions and a riverfront park that includes a great lawn and a wide promenade. A festival alley is also planned beneath the Market Street Bridge.

MS Consultants, Youngstown, is a consultant on the project, assisting MKSK with architectural and engineering services.

Brock & Associates Builders Inc., North Lima, was awarded an $8 million contract in April to construct the amphitheater and parking lot. The city contract with Brock includes the installation of a standing seam roof at the amphitheater stage, a PVC-coated chain link fence, a lighting system for the courthouse annex parking lot just off the site, an irrigation system, decorative lighting under the Market Street Bridge, the development of a paved parking lot south of the Covelli Centre’s lot, and providing additional topsoil to the site.

In all, the estimated costs for the project stands around $10 million. The Youngstown Foundation has pledged $3 million for 20-year naming rights for the amphitheater, while the city is exploring other sponsorship opportunities.

The amphitheater would be managed by JAC Management, the same firm that manages the Covelli Centre. It is expected to open next summer and seat 4,500. The lawn area would accommodate another 3,500.

Pictured at top: Rudzik Excavating Inc. is removing an 84-inch sewer line built at the turn of the 20th century that bisects the site and building a 96-inch line that runs parallel to the Mahoning River.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.