City to Provide $500K Grant for 5th YBI Building

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -- The city will provide a $500,000 water/wastewater grant to support development of a fifth building for the Youngstown Business Incubator campus downtown.

Council is expected to take up legislation approving the funding for the project at its next meeting, said T. Sharon Woodberry, city economic development director. Council members received an update on the project from Barb Ewing, YBI’s chief operating officer, during a finance committee meeting last night. YBI officials spoke previously with the mayor and economic development officials regarding support for the project, she said.

Following last night’s meeting, Ewing expressed her appreciation for the city’s “support and leadership,” which “could not have come at a more critical time,” she said. YBI plans to seek funds from the U.S. Economic Development Administration for the project, but needs to have full matching funds in place before doing so, she reported. 

“We see an opportunity to secure federal funding this year for the project. However, if we hadn't been able to meet the match requirements, we would have to delay the request until the next fiscal year,” she said. “Anyone who follows the federal budget process knows that's a bad bet.”   

Fundraising for the $6.2 million building acquisition and necessary renovations is going well, with $5 million identified and $2 million secured, plus requests for about $250,000, Ewing said. In March, state officials announced that $1.5 million had been allocated in the capital budget for the project. 

YBI has an option to purchase the old Vindicator building downtown. It plans to use the property for additional incubator space as well as install advanced manufacturing equipment.

YBI has “two good options” for funding acquisition of the building, Ewing said, though she could not provide additional details. “Neither are done deals, but both are very viable,” she remarked.

Copyright 2014 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.
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