Merchants to address downtown issues

Merchants need to know parking and garbage rules, a councilman says.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Councilman Artis Gillam Sr. is hoping for better turnout for a Thursday meeting with downtown merchants.
It would be very difficult for turnout to be worse than the last attempt to meet with the merchants. At the June 22 meeting, only one merchant attended, and he stayed only for a few minutes.
Gillam, D-1st, wants downtown merchants to meet with him and other city officials to discuss parking on the sidewalks, and sanitary and safety issues.
The June 22 meeting was at 10 a.m. The Thursday meeting is set for 3:30 p.m.
"We changed the time," Gillam said. "I didn't realize 10 a.m. was a bad time for them. They didn't show up at the first meeting. We're giving them another opportunity to meet with us and talk about these issues."
Trash talk
At the June 22 meeting, city officials discussed the importance of maintenance in front of businesses, as well as trash collection and businesses using trash bins.
City officials want businesses to use trash bins in the back of their buildings to throw out garbage. Gillam, whose ward includes downtown, said businesses who don't take care of their trash properly should be fined by the city.
Invitations to downtown merchants for Thursday's meeting were mailed last Friday. A few merchants have told city officials they will attend Thursday's meeting.
Even though the reopening of Federal Street in December included the opening of more than 50 free parking spots on the street, there continues to be a parking problem, city officials said.
Delivery trucks and cars are parking on downtown sidewalks, something that can damage the sidewalks. Gillam and other city officials want that practice to stop.

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