YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Wednesday evening, Youngstown city council approved the spending of $2.3 million in American Rescue Plan money to be spent on the North and South sides.

So far, Youngstown’s Board of Control, which consists of the mayor and the law and finance directors, has approved only one of council’s half a dozen or so ARP requests, and that has at least one councilman frustrated.

Council approved spending $1 million to start renovating Belmont Avenue, which runs through Samantha Turner’s 3rd Ward.

“The first step is greening and beautification. So we’ll do that just to get it going and then we’ll start working with the Belmont merchants and all of the business holders across the corridor,” Turner said.

Council also approved another $290,000 for the 3rd Ward, some of which will be used by a group called Building Neighborhoods of Youngstown.

“We’ll be working with them to help bring that list down of emergency home repairs and roofing, and then working with Ohio Urban Renaissance to do more to support the former Elks Youth Center,” Turner said.

Council also approved $725,000 for the corner of Glenwood Avenue and High Street to build new houses. They approved another $300,000 to renovate the park at Hillman and Falls, part of Julius Oliver’s 1st Ward.

“Everything about the park will be new — the splash pads, the swings, some basketball courts. There will be a new pavilion,” Oliver said.

City council has already passed two ordinances to spend ARP money in the 1st Ward but the city’s board of control has not approved the allocation of the money, which frustrates councilman Oliver.

“I feel like there’s a cat and mouse game being played. I think that city council’s ARP funds are being held up specifically for the purposes of saying we’re going to put administration ARP funds out first,” Oliver said.

We talked with Youngstown Mayor Tito Brown about Oliver’s frustrations over the delays in approving ARP money.

“I don’t play games. Some of these projects take time. They have to go through our department heads. I’m not going to move forward with a project that doesn’t go through the proper checks and balances. I don’t want the attorney general or secretary-treasurer to someday come investigating Youngstown because we did something wrong. I want them to say, ‘Look at them. Youngstown did it right,'” Brown said.