Youngstown moves forward with downtown renovation despite grant denial

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Youngstown leaders are dealing with a setback in their plan to renovate downtown. Their application for a $10.3 million grant was denied.

The Tiger Grant they applied to might not even be around next year, so it’s time for officials to regroup.

Leaders of Youngstown’s SMART project said they wanted this to be part of the city’s comeback. They don’t think they can accomplish it all without the grant money, but they are still moving forward.

The grant from the Department of Transportation would have gone toward redeveloping roads downtown.

The application denial is a disappointment, but not a deal-breaker.

“We’ll be able instead to do a slower and perhaps less attractive version of what we had originally planned, but we’re going to be resourceful, we’re going to continue to work,” said Youngstown State Associate Vice President for Research Michael Hripko.

The original plan was to add pedestrian lighting, pathways and medians and reduce lanes. It may take a while to see that throughout downtown, but one street will see some changes in the near future.

“The Fifth Avenue Project in and of itself was conceived before the Tiger Grant, so it’s still going to move forward,” said Director of Public Works Chuck Shasho.

He said the city plans for the road to have fewer lanes and to add pathways. They hope to break ground in 2020.

“We may not like the direction we’re heading, but at least we’re headed in a direction and we know where we’re going now,” Shasho said.

SMART Project leaders will meet again next Thursday.