2010 Officials view plan to improve city, YSU

The public will get to see the plan Thursday.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Board members of the city's downtown development agency had a glimpse of the future Tuesday, and they liked what they saw.
The Youngstown Central Area Community Improvement Corp. board invited Jay Williams, the city's Community Development Agency director to give an overview of the 2010 plan, which will be unveiled to the public at 7 p.m. Thursday at Stambaugh Auditorium. The group also invited Hunter Morrison, director of regional and urban studies at Youngstown State University, to give an update on YSU's master plan.
Williams told the board Tuesday that one of the key 2010 proposals that will be discussed is the new land-use plan for Youngstown. He said the plan represents the culmination of two years of meetings with neighborhood groups and others on what residents want and do not want.
He said the city's land-use map hadn't been updated in decades, and the last such plan envisoned a Youngstown population of 200,000.
The new plan projects a city population of 80,000 but can be changed to accommodate growth.
Green areas
William D'Avignon, the city's deputy director of planning, presented the land-use plan to the city planning commission last week. Its main thrust is to decrease the city's heavy industrial areas, which produce high levels of noise, vibration, dust and smoke pollution. The plan seeks to create more industrial green areas, which are characterized by offices, research centers, business support services, warehouses, distributors and light manufacturers that don't produce high noise levels, pollution or unsightly outdoor storage.
Williams added there is a downtown phase to the 2010 land-use plan, including cleaning up some of the major roads leading into downtown.
He said the goal is to present the land-use plan for approval to the planning commission by spring. Officials hope the commission will get it to city council for approval by summer.
YSU goal
Morrison said the current goal of the YSU plan is to identify projects for completion by 2008.
One project under way is the $12 million Andrews Recreation and Wellness Center, which is under construction across from Beeghly Center.
Morrison also said plans call for upgrading bridges on the Madison Avenue Expressway that lead to campus. He said the university has received $500,000 from the Ohio Department of Transportation to improve pedestrian walkways along those bridges.
Another goal is to have a student body of 14,000 students with 20 percent of the students living on or adjacent to campus. Unofficial enrollment this spring at YSU is 12,327.
Morrison said YSU also wants to improve the edges of campus on Wick and Rayen avenues and Elm Street, and ultimately make Wick "the front door to campus." He said one of the proposed spots for YSU's new business college is on Rayen Avenue. The plan would be to make that new school "civic minded," where the business and civic community could use it for meetings and forums.
Another plus is the reopening of West Federal Street to two-way traffic, he said. That could allow Western Reserve Transit Authority buses to make a loop between downtown and the university and drop students off for classes along Rayen and Lincoln avenues.
Morrison said in the near future the CIC, city and YSU must get together to discuss "providing a seamless link between the downtown and campus," something that has been discussed for years but has never happened.
He said there must be a shared marketing plan between the campus and city that would allow YSU to compete for students "and having a successful downtown will help" in that effort.
Board members lauded the efforts of Williams and Morrison, and expressed satisfaction that something positive is happening to the city and university.

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