Youngstowners aren't Belmont Ave.'s problem
Former Mayor Pat Ungaro's remarks about the deterioration of Belmont Avenue "because people from Youngstown have moved in and brought their inner-city problems with them" really hit me the wrong way.
I was born in Youngstown in the 1950s and always remember Belmont Avenue as being a very homely merchant area. The kind you see all over America-ugly signage, no landscaping, nondescript plazas and buildings and plenty of asphalt parking lots. Look at Mahoning Avenue, Route 224, Route 422 and Market Street. But if the stores were open and the parking lots were full then these were considered signs of a god economy. I think there is truth in that but it still doesn't mean that the area was visually attractive. There is also something to be said for these very same boring-looking places being kept neat and clean. Cleanliness is a sign that the owners care about their businesses which is important. For one thing, criminals usually like to work where they can't be seen and choose areas where people don't care.
I do think many businesses do not care about their visual impact on the area or they really don't even think about it. I wish they would because investing in some landscaping, and maintaining it, could definitely enhance an area and bring in more customers.
My point is that Belmont was never that pretty to begin with, It has deteriorated. I don't know if it's because Youngstown citizens have moved in. If I, a Youngstown citizen, had moved in, this wouldn't have happened. I imagine if many other Youngstown natives that I know of would have moved in, this wouldn't have happened either. Did Mr. Ungaro imply that all Youngstown citizens are criminals. I'm insulted.
I truly hope that Belmont can turn around and I think Mr. Ungaro is on the right track. I'm totally excited about his ideas for visual; improvement. I hope the people of Liberty as well as of Youngstown join together on this. There is plenty of traffic passing through this way and plenty of opportunity for prosperity especially if the 7/11 connector gets built. And if it doesn't get built there is still plenty to work with. Best of luck!