Youngstown council members at odds over redevelopment money

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Is too much money being spent redeveloping downtown Youngstown at the expense of the main corridors and neighborhoods?

Some on city council are saying yes. They’re planning to withhold money to fix up two streets on the east end of downtown.

The two streets the grants will redevelop are East Boardman and Walnut. It’s where Eastern Gateway, the main post office, and the Covelli Centre all come together, but some on Youngstown City Council are against spending more money downtown because they say the main corridors and neighborhoods have been ignored.

Redeveloping East Boardman and Walnut will cost $2.86 million. It’ll be paid for with a $1.3 million state grant and a $300,000 federal grant, with the city paying the rest.

Councilwoman Lauren McNally does not support the project. She says during her six years on council, the city has spent $80 million downtown, while nothing has been spent on the corridors and neighborhoods.

“There really is no statistic or data backing up the need for the level of design for Boardman Street that his project is asking for,” she said. “There was no vehicular traffic study done. There was no pedestrian traffic study done, even no economic development potential done that this project is necessary.

At the same time, Councilman Julius Oliver says he’ll be voting for it.

“The better you make the infrastructure for downtown, the more you can invite businesses and residents into downtown to lay down anchors, which will then invite even more businesses and institutions and people to come downtown,” he said.

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