University leaders join in on groundbreaking for Wick Avenue improvements

groundbreakingMayor John McNally, Sharon Letson, Executive Director of Youngstown CityScape, and Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel joined with other partners, funders, stakeholders and the community to break ground today on the Wick Avenue Improvement Project.

Groundbreaking ceremonies took place on the Wick Avenue lawn of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County at the corner of Wick Avenue and Rayen Avenue.

The groundbreaking marks the start of the city’s roadway resurfacing and reconfiguration project and the simultaneous work on re-imaging the look and feel of Wick Avenue with new lighting and the burial of utility lines being undertaken by partners and stakeholders along Wick Avenue as a concurrent project.

CityScape Executive Director Sharon Letson provided an overview on the design aspects of the project.

“Our work will include the removal of old mismatched light poles and overhead wiring, clearing the sightlines and showcasing the lovely buildings along Wick Avenue. WAIP involves putting the utility wiring underground, the installation of pedestrian-scaled light poles, and new vehicular lighting, as well as beautification once the roadway work is completed,” she said. “These changes will transform Wick Avenue, and, we hope, be a major step in a series of upgrades to our downtown infrastructure and aesthetic.”

Tressel acknowledged that this is a critical project for the university, and upgrades how YSU looks to students and their families. “These partners work as a team,” said Tressel, “and we’re all headed toward the same goal.”

“I want to thank all the partners” McNally said. “You are a partner if you walked the project footprint in the early days imagining what could be, and you are a partner if you are a stakeholder along Wick Avenue and attended the early meetings about the possibilities of this project. You are a partner if you’ve given money in support of this project, and you are a partner if you are working for the betterment of our city. There is no doubt in my mind that this project will not only beautify this corridor, and benefit the stakeholders, but will benefit the city and the community at large. I’m delighted to be here today as we kick off work on this terrific improvement.”

CityScape, the City, YSU and the stakeholders along Wick Avenue, including the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, the Butler Institute of American Art, St John’s Episcopal Church and the Mahoning Valley Historical Society, have focused on the burial of utility lines and improvement of pedestrian and traffic lighting, important components of the Wick Avenue upgrade project not covered by the City’s federally funded roadway reconfiguration and resurfacing project.

CT Consultants provided the engineering for the utility line/lighting portion of the project, and MS Consultants served as the City’s consultant on the roadway reconfiguration. Marucci & Gaffney Excavating successfully bid the work, which is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2017.