Council Signs Off On Waste Plan, Agrees to Park Study

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Youngstown’s Parks and Recreation Commission will seek proposals to hire someone to come up with a comprehensive plan for the city’s park system.

City Council gave its approval Wednesday to seek proposals from park planners.

Parks and Recreation Director Bob Burke said Youngstown’s 45 parks and properties are designed to serve 150,000 people, but the city’s population is now closer to 65,000.  So, officials want to see what it will cost to bring in an outside consultant or firm to give citizens the most bang for their city park buck.

“Specialists that deal in parks and recreation only, that’s what we want. We don’t want somebody that deals on building just streets. We want somebody that knows how to build a park system for a city,” Burke said.

Council and the Board of Control would have to give approval before entering into any contract.

The city already paid $13,000 to YSU’s Center for Urban and Regional Studies to conduct park demographics studies and surveys. The results of that work should be presented in August to council and the park commission.

Also Wednesday, City Council approved the Mahoning County Solid Waste Management plan update by a 5-2 vote. The county waste management district needs the approval of 60 percent of municipalities, including Youngstown, to move forward with its 15-year plan.

The plan outlines how money generated by area landfills will fund things such as well testing, boards of health, litter control and recycling throughout the county.  The resolution passed in Youngstown on its second reading.

“Without the city of Youngstown’s vote, we could not go any further at this point. We’d have to allow the state to come in and write the plan for us,” said Lou Vega, interim director for the Mahoning County Solid Waste Management District.

“We can’t continue to go down the path that we’re going down, with spending the money in places that may not need it,” said 7th Ward Councilman John Swierz, who voted against the plan.

The other ‘no’ vote came from T.J. Rodgers. Swierz said he’s concerned about the amount the district allocates for well testing in the county, saying it’s a lot more money than other counties around the state.

The plan must be submitted to Ohio Environmental Protection Agency by June 11.

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