AUSTINTOWN Meetings will tap public's planning ideas

AUSTINTOWN -- Township residents have an opportunity to help create a vision for the future of Mahoning Avenue, state Route 46 and the township's center.
A group of Ball State University architectural and planning students and professors will be at Austintown Library from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Sunday to draw that vision.
Residents will be asked to give ideas and feedback.
"My understanding is that they will sketch furiously and they will sketch a lot," said Fred Owens, the president of the Austintown Growth Foundation.
20/20 plan
The drawing project is part of 20/20-Austintown, an effort to create a plan for the township's future. The growth foundation is paying for the plan.
Residents at recent meetings discussed the need for a township center and improvements to the state Route 46 and Mahoning Avenue corridors.
"If people have other things they want to think about, we'll think about it too," said James Segedy, the Ball State urban planning professor hired to direct 20/20-Austintown.
The Ball State group will present their drawings to residents at a public meeting at 3 p.m. Sunday in the library. Comments will be used to create final drawings that will illustrate the 20/20 plan, expected to be complete in August.
Getting the word out
James D'Eramo, chairman of the 20/20 steering committee, said many township residents know about the planning effort, which started late last year, but committee members are still working to attract residents to this weekend's drawing projects.
Signs have been posted in businesses, and committee members have been handing out fliers at the entrance to the library.
A total of about 160 residents attended meetings in January. Today, Ball State students and professors expect to meet with 100 people in focus groups, including groups of union representatives, teachers, government officials and bankers.
Owens said those in the groups will be asked how they can help accomplish the 20/20 goals.
"I think nobody in the community wants a pie-in-the-sky, pretty plan that can't be used," he said.

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