YSU REDI Signs $200,000 Contract for City Improvement Projects

Photo by Stacy Rubinic/The Jambar.

By Samantha Phillips

Youngstown State University’s Regional Economic Development Initiative signed a two-year contract to assist the City of Youngstown in obtaining grants to fund improvement projects. The Youngstown Board of Control approved this contract last week.

YSU REDI could be asked to prepare grant applications to support city projects in areas like economic development, healthcare and transportation infrastructure.

“The contract allows the city to spend up to $200,000 over a two-year period with REDI for REDI’s work on grant assistance, research and writing on the city’s behalf,” Mayor John McNally said. “This could encompass any grant writing proposals that we ask the university to get involved in.”

McNally said this contract came from the city council’s desire to use grant writing services for things they are interested in applying for on the city’s behalf.

Youngstown and REDI previously collaborated to try and obtain a TIGER grant, which would improve the city’s transportation infrastructure, according to Michaell Hripko, associate vice president for Research. Although they didn’t succeed in getting it, there was a positive outcome.

“We did not receive the award, but we developed a good working relationship between the university and the city,” he said. “We thought we might be able to continue in other grant opportunities.”

Dominic Marchionda, REDI’s Finance Professional, said REDI will be submitting grant applications only for funding opportunities prioritized by the City of Youngstown.

“The contract could be applied across a wide array of programming initiatives where the city might request our assistance,” he said “It … focuses on increasing community services and improving the quality of life of residents.”

Hripko said each individual grant writing will be priced and presented to the city.

REDI is investigating grant opportunities for a park improvement project to get rid of old concrete bleachers.

“We asked them to look for more grants for demolition purposes like the demolition of concrete bleachers in six different parks,” McNally said.

Hripko said the bleachers are in disrepair and pose a safety risk.

“Their immediate priority they asked us to look for is to look for opportunities to make parks safer,” Hripko said.

Hripko said the university’s faculty and students could be involved in researching grants in specialized areas.

“We told the city we have the resources of the university at hand to assist us on areas where we need it, if they were to prioritize something on health services, we would engage faculty to assist us in looking for and preparing for proposals relative to that,” he said.

Marchionda said YSU REDI also provides grant services to a number of other public and private clients.