YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – In a move to attract more jobs and development, Youngstown City Council voted last month to build an industrial park on the city’s east side.
Friday it was decided it will be a new high-tech self-chilling beverage can plant, which is bringing hundreds of jobs with it.
But the location of the plant will push several people out of their homes, as 21 acres of land will now be re-zoned from residential to commercial as part of Youngstown’s East Side Urban Renewal project.
In turn, it’s been tough for remaining residents living on the land to meet agreements with the city.
Right now, the East Side neighborhood between Fruit Street, Himrod Avenue and South Lane Avenue is pretty quiet. Several houses are vacant — except for the nine families being displaced.
“We’re basically in the last leg of our negotiations with the last three homeowners,” Councilman Julius Oliver said. “Negotiations are going very well. We expect everybody to be happy and pleased with the settlements.”
A high-tech $20 million “Chill Can” plant will go in its place, a project Mayor John McNally confirmed Monday.
Chill-cans are self-chilling beverage cans produced by The Joseph Company International. The company’s CEO is a Youngstown native and plans to build a four-building complex.
One of the homeowners who will be across the street from the plant said he’s actually open to the idea.
“At first I didn’t want it to happen,” Jose Rivera said. “But if it’s going to bring a change to the Valley — bring jobs and it’ll help us out a little bit — maybe it’s worth a try.”
Rivera and his family have lived in their house on Lane Avenue for almost 55 years. Right now there’s two vacant homes across the street from their property.
He said the empty space could be utilized for something better, even with the noises that could come with an industrial plant.
“We’ve had that all our lives,” Rivera said. “I have a freeway right behind my house with the trains and everything.”
He’s just hoping that the company will be willing to work with their neighbors if any issues, like noise, do come up.
“I don’t want it to be any worse than what it is now,” Rivera said. “But I would rather have it to be better — and maybe if I get a decent neighbor as a company we can work hand in hand to see what we can do to make things better.”