DOWNTOWN YOUNGSTOWN Officials to discuss building of appeals court

CIC needs the funds to be secured by the third or fourth quarter of this year.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Mayor George M. McKelvey wants a state appeals court downtown, but the city might not help pay for it.
McKelvey told downtown's redevelopment agency Tuesday the city will try to help with financing. There are no guarantees, however, he said. Downtown officials should look for any alternative to city money so the project isn't delayed, he said.
Downtown officials said they have several options -- including city money -- and six to nine months to figure it out.
At issue are asbestos and demolition costs for a new $3 million building on West Federal Street for the 7th District Court of Appeals.
Made a commitment
The downtown agency, Youngstown Central Area Community Improvement Corp., committed in December to build the court. The court is to occupy the space between the vacant Kress building and First Educators Investment Corp. An empty lot and a few dilapidated CIC-owned buildings sit in between. Those buildings would be demolished.
Removal costs are included in the $3.2 million project estimate. Annual lease payments, however, won't cover the abatement and razing costs.
CIC officials said talks with the city before making the deal left them confident the city would find the $450,000 needed for remediation and demolition.
McKelvey said the city agreed to make its best efforts, but made no commitment.
He doesn't want to see court construction held up waiting for city money. The project is overdue, he said.
"We have talked about this project for the six years I've been in city government," McKelvey said.
Finance options
Reid Dulberger, a CIC staff member, said there are several options for completing financing and getting the court ready by the Jan. 1, 2006, deadline.
Among the potential sources are the city's annual federal funding and a portion of a $25 million federal grant for a downtown arena if it's freed up for downtown projects, he said.
CIC also could borrow the $450,000 instead, Dulberger said. The agency would have to pledge its future income as the funding stream, however, which would be hard to do, he said.
CIC needs the $450,000 to be secured by the third or fourth quarter of this year to meet the construction deadline, he said.
The city is responsible for at least remediation costs in the 1995 contract transferring dilapidated buildings from the city to CIC, Dulberger said. That provision was made because it was clear those interested in rundown properties wouldn't absorb remediation costs, he said. That remains true today, he said.
G. Richard Pavlock, CIC president, said the agency's property committee will pursue the funding issue. The committee will work out the funding and bring the full board a plan later, he said.