Residents unhappy with new downtown Youngstown parking lot

A new parking lot in the location of the old Kress in Youngstown is set to open and its stirring controversy throughout the city

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – A new parking lot soon will be open for business in downtown Youngstown.

Construction is almost complete on the city-owned space where the old Kress building once stood. City officials said the lot will be open to the public for a fee, but parking there will be free for people coming to pay their water bills at City Hall.

But, some residents are not happy with the the way the parking lot looks.

“Maybe if more people had been around the table, the vision for that may have been a little different,” Youngstown CityScape Executive Director Sharon Letson said. “You bring people with different ideas and different backgrounds so we get for the community the best possible design and the best possible look.”

But Youngstown Community Development Director Bill D’Avignon said the design follows city standards.

“There are standards that are published that when someone is doing a development they can refer to so they are not playing a guessing game when they come to the design and review committee,” D’Avignon said.

The plan for the parking lot was approved by the city’s design and review committee, which thought the look blended well with the rest of the downtown.

“It is similar to other parking areas with black wrought iron look fence with the brick fence in between and it is part of the standards for parking lots downtown,” D’Avignon said.

He said the project isn’t complete just yet and a wrought iron fence will be added soon.

The Kress building on West Federal Street was demolished over a year ago.

In a related matter, the City Planning Commission will have a public meeting Tuesday at City Hall to discuss a proposal to license downtown public parking lots and garages. The license would require lot owners to follow guidelines for signs and cleanliness.

The overall goal would be to hold all of the public lots to a set standard. The city wants visitors to feel safe and to have a clear idea of where they are able to park.

If the proposal is approved, lot owners would be required to pay $1 per space per year. All lot owners have received letters about Tuesday’s meeting.

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