Warren laying out road plans

The city plans to do more than $5.68 million in road resurfacing, repairs and construction work during the 2013 construction season. Approximately $4.9 million for the projects already has been identified and set aside, including resurfacing portions of Niles Road, Pine Avenue and Parkman Road, work on a trailhead for the bike trail, and engineering work on Palmyra Road, Highland Avenue and Main Avenue.

Included in the road construction funds are $325,000 from the Community Development Block Grants for resurfacing work in low- to moderate-income areas and $1 million for Ohio Public Work Commission projects that involve replacements of water and sewer mains.

The vast majority of the money for the work, $4.3 million, is being provided either through various federal and state programs. The combined required local share for the projects is $1.3 million.

Approximately $775,000 of the local share has been identified and set aside by the city.

There are 15 local road resurfacing projects being planned at an estimated cost of $700,000. These streets cannot be done using federal money, are not eligible for CDBG funding and are not competitive to receive state funding. So, if they are to be done, the community must find a way to pay for the work. There is another $75,000 being requested for maintenance.

Councilman Greg Bartholomew, D-4th Ward, said that since 2007, the city has been very successful in obtaining federal and state money for road projects.

“The city has not put much of its own money into road resurfacing and repair,” Bartholomew said. “The vast majority of roads that have been done in recent years have had some kind of federal match.”

It is because of that record that city officials would like to establish some type of annual road maintenance program which would allow the city to maintain its roads.

City Engineer Paul Makosky said recently that other nearby communities having money set aside annually for their road maintenance and resurfacing programs.

Youngstown provides $750,000 through CDBG money and another $500,000 in local funds for its 490 miles of roads. Niles provides between $300,000 and $500,000 a year in local funds for its 95 miles of roads. Howland provides $500,000 for 80 miles and Cortland provides $300,000 for 40 miles of roads.

Makosky said there are 185 miles of roads in the city limits.

Mayor Doug Franklin said the city is working on establishing a preventive maintenance program.

“I’m also going to make every effort to continue to extend the useful life of our streets by continuing our partial depth repairs, chip and seal and crack sealing program,” Franklin said.

Franklin said while the city would like to budget a certain amount annually for road maintenance and repair, it does not have a dedicated source of income. It must look at what is available in its budget on an annual basis.

The city must adjust to changes in the economy, such as the uncertainty of the idled RG Steel mill on Pine Avenue that resulted in layoffs for more than 1,000 employees and the expected closure of the GE plant, both of which will affect the amount of tax money coming into the city’s coffers.

“We are planning to begin work on these projects as early in the construction season as possible,” Franklin said.