YOUNGSTOWN 2010 Council to adopt vision of future

Adopting the vision will allow some efforts to start now.
& lt;a & gt;By ROGER SMITH & lt;/a & gt;
YOUNGSTOWN -- This week brings a symbolic but still significant step in the Youngstown 2010 planning process.
City council plans on Wednesday to adopt the vision for the city's future that the 2010 process has generated.
The move has no tangible effect. City officials say, however, that council's adopting the vision shows a commitment to what the public has indicated are the most important topics.
"It shows the significance, and the realization of council's support," said Jay Williams, city Community Development Agency director.
Key points
The vision's main focuses are that the city:
UMust accept that it has become smaller.
UDefine its role in the regional economy.
UImprove its image and quality of life.
UCarry out the resulting plan.
Each main focus has subcategories outlining more specific goals.
All of council embracing the vision is an important point, said Councilman Artis Gillam Sr., D-1st.
Each member likely has objections to specific points in the vision, he said. Still, it's rare that any council considers an initiative so important that it sets aside those differences, Gillam said.
Adopting the vision allows some efforts -- especially commonly held ideas that don't involve spending money -- to start now, said Richard Atkinson, R-3rd. That's important, he said, because writing the specific plan to achieve the vision's goals by 2010 doesn't start until later this year.
Adopting the vision is the starting point for writing the plan, said John R. Swierz, city council president.
"It's the first step to kick off the second phase of Youngstown 2010," he said. "It's very important ... to get us to the next step."
No need for changes
Council will adopt a vision unchanged from how it was first outlined, despite two months of wide public commentary.
Anthony Kobak, the city's chief planner, said there was no need to make any changes. Virtually all of the hundreds of comments made were specific suggestions on how to accomplish the goals that the vision outlines, he said. Lack of comments criticizing the vision means there is general agreement with the principals as outlined, he said.
"It's truly reflective of what the community thinks are the problems and strengths of the community," Kobak said.
Parts of the vision still could be changed if a swell of support to add or subtract topics materializes this spring or summer, he said.
The comments received so far won't be discarded, he said. In fact, the comments and the people who made them will be an integral part of writing the plan, Kobak said.
What's next
Several things toward writing the plan will happen in the next couple of months:
UCommunication, such as newsletters, will start with people who indicated they would be volunteers.
UCommittees will be formed using those volunteers. The committees will start exploring the steps needed to accomplish the 2010 vision's goals.
UA communitywide cleanup will be organized for the spring to start addressing the city's image and quality of life problems.
UAn inventory of neighborhoods and ongoing projects within them will be undertaken. The results will be used to define and better understand neighborhoods in detail. The conclusions will ultimately figure into which neighborhoods are and aren't sustainable.
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