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Trustees look at new park land and possible YMCA

October 25, 2012
By J.T. Whitehouse , Town Crier

The Austintown Township Trustees dealt with an expansion of parklands and heard from YMCA officials about a possible new facility in Austintown during Monday's regular meeting.

On the park land issue, trustees approved making an application to the Ohio Public Works Commission for Clean Ohio Conservation Program Funds to purchase 12.5 acres of land. The area in question lies at the eastern end of Ridgeview Avenue in the Countryside residential subdivision. The property is forested and was said to have a diverse array of native plants and wildlife.

"(This resolution) needs to be approved for a Clean Ohio grant to be considered," said Township Administrator Mike Dockry.

The resolution called for the township to provide $36,900 in matching funds to obtain the grant. With the Monday approval, the grant application can be submitted for funds to purchase the property, which will increase the 250-acre park.

Trustees also heard from representatives of the local YMCA who said they were considering building a facility in Austintown.

"Our branch advisory committee recently completed a strategic plan for expanding our operations," said Richard Hahn, board member of the YMCA. "Right now we are doing a survey of western Mahoning County residents to ask what they want in services."

He said the YMCA has a survey on its website at www.youngstownymca.org that takes about five to seven minutes to complete. He told trustees he would like to see a lot of residents filling out the survey so that the board can get a good feel for what the people want in a local YMCA branch facility. The survey will remain on the site until Nov. 2. After that date the information will be analyzed.

"The research we did last year said this area is underserved," Hahn said.

YMCA CEO Timothy Hilk was also on hand and said, "The survey has also been distributed through Austintown schools."

He said research has shown that when a YMCA branch is built in a community, it improves the outlook for that community. He gave the example of the branch built in Boardman and the high use it gets.

Trustee David Ditzler said he had worked in the past to try to bring a YMCA to Austintown.

"It's a welcomed sight to see it being revisited," Ditzler said. "We think we have a community that will support it."

All three trustees urged Austintown residents to log onto the website and complete the survey.

Turning to the elections, Dave Schertzer, president of the Austintown firefighters union, urged voters to approve the three replacement levies on the November ballot.

"Today, Austintown firefighters are bringing home 15 percent less that they did in 2008," Schertzer said. "These three levies will not bring in pay raises. It will continue our department as it is."

Fire Chief Andy Frost III said the three levies are needed as his department is getting $450,000 less in state funds.

"We've been cut [by the state] and we have no other options," he said. The three levies are replacement levies, not new taxes.

In other business:

Trustees heard from a WRTA representative urging residents to pass the .25 percent sales tax issue to continue funding.

Approval was given to declare 18 properties as nuisance properties and four properties containing junk vehicles and ordering removal.

Motions approved the following properties for structure demolitions: two accessory buildings at 580 North Turner Road; a detached garage at 88 Idaho Road; and a single-family dwelling at 3889 New Road.

Trustees declared a 1994 Ford Explorer and a 2000 Gator 4x2 as unneeded, obsolete, or unfit for public use.

Trustee Jim Davis commended the Fitch boys soccer team on a great season and told those in attendance they need to fill the Fitch stadium one more time this Friday as the Falcons football team takes on Mooney.

"This may be the year the Falcons beat the Cardinals," he said.

 
 

 

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