YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – There was a meeting at Youngstown Mayor Tito Brown’s office Monday about possibly extending the life of Fire Station 7.
On what would have been closing day for Youngstown Fire Station 7 before a two-week delay, State Representative Michele Lepore-Hagan went to see Mayor Brown.
Hagan said she’s been hearing an earful from her constituents.
“Student housing is being built on the campus and we’re closing the station. The station sits next to a high school, we’re closing it. It’s near a hospital, it’s near a senior citizen center so people are concerned. They want information. They want to understand what’s happening.”
Lepore-Hagan lives in a north side neighborhood served by Station 7 and she doesn’t want it to close either.
“The mayor knows I’m firm on it,” she said. “I would like to see the fire station stay open for another year but I’m negotiating with him about that right now.”
But is that how the mayor sees things?
“Absolutely not,” Brown said.
In fact, he said the only reason the old firehouse is still open another two weeks is to work out a schedule with a moving company to transfer equipment from there to Station 1 downtown.
Brown said his view of Monday morning’s meeting was to press Lepore-Hagan for more access to state money.
“We’ve only been recipients of what others would receive but not our own ask, and I thought today was a good opportunity for us to have a direct ask.”
While Lepore-Hagan said her request will provide more time to seek other funding sources from both Columbus and Washington, Brown said there’s no reason why the station needs to remain that long.
“I don’t think we wait a year. We can’t wait a year. I think if we’re going to move forward, now is the time.”
Although leaders with the firefighters’ union had no comment on Monday’s meeting, they still plan to take a “no confidence” vote this week against Chief Barry Finley.
In the meantime, Lepore-Hagan isn’t giving up hope.
“Still on the table,” she said. “We have another meeting set for next Monday.”
Plans to close the fire station were announced in October. Two weeks later, people gathered outside the station, rallying against the closure.