YMCA Plans $5M Renovation of Central Branch

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – A $5 million renovation of the YMCA of Youngstown’s downtown branch is planned for next year, the organization’s development director said at this morning’s Design Review Committee.

Marykaye Carlson appeared before the panel to request permission to install a 24-foot-by-16-foot vinyl banner on the back of Central YMCA, replacing a banner that was taken down.

“We’re going to be remodeling the downtown YMCA in the coming year, so at that point we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to put up some type of a nice [permanent logo or sign] there,” she said.

The Central YMCA was built in 1915.

The renovation project will start at the beginning of 2016 or in early spring, Carlson said. “It’s really going to be beautiful,” she said.

Carlson did not provide further information regarding the scope or features of the project. Contacted by The Business Journal following the meeting, Tim Hilk, CEO of YMCA of Youngstown, confirmed the organization is “finalizing putting the funding in place” for the $5 million project.

“We’re working with an architect and a construction manager to design the remodeling efforts as well as keep the budget at $5 million, and we anticipate that construction could start as early as spring 2016 and be completed by the end of that year,” Hilk said.

“The Central YMCA has proven to be the fabric of the community for many years and as we prepare to celebrate 100 years in this facility, we now have the opportunity to look forward. This renovation will assist us with providing the community with outstanding facilities.”

A centennial celebration will take place in November at the Central YMCA,17 N. Champion St. “We hope to announce very soon the special guest list for that event,” Hilk said.

In addition to the YMCA’s request for the temporary signage, the Design Review Committee also approved façade renovation plans for the building at 107 Federal Plaza W. The building is owned by Jack Rabbit LLC, a holding company operated by Jimmy Sutman, president of Iron and String Life Enhancement Inc.

The façade work, which will include a new signage frame, new lighting and repairs, will cost $40,000 to $50,000, he estimated.

Sutman said he plans to open an arts center for nonprofit arts organizations and artists in the building. The forest floor would be available as workspace and a consignment area for artists, and the second floor would be available for communal office space

Sutman purchased the building in 2012, and a year later said he planned to open the Sugar Plum bakery/luncheonette in the space. Those plans were shelved when the opportunity arose to open Gallagher’s Lunch bucket in Oakhill Renaissance Place last year.

“We already run a food service operation,” Sutman said. “It’s a lot of hard work. I’m not sure we want to go in that direction with the property.”

The total project will cost about $300,000, he said.

The committee also approved new signage for the Covelli Centre and demolition of the garage at the former Vindicator building, now owned by the Youngstown Business Incubator.

The new interchangeable banner system at the Covelli Centre will permit two replaceable signs by R.L. Smith Graphics of Youngstown advertising the arena as the home of the Youngstown Phantoms, per a contract with the hockey team, and publicizing upcoming shows. Each of the banners will be 28 feet wide by 15 feet high, and will be visible from the Market Street bridge coming into downtown.

Demolition of the garage at the former Vindicator building will allow more room for deliveries to the building, which YBI is converting into its fifth building. The additional space is needed to accommodate trucks bringing in the large equipment the YBI building will require, said Anita Gallo, an architect with Strollo Architects, Youngstown.

Pictured: Central YMCA in downtown Youngstown.

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