YOUNGSTOWN — Mayor Jay Williams said his first year of running the city had its peaks and valleys, but overall he’s proud of what his administration has accomplished.
Among the accomplishments are the continued revitalization of the city’s downtown, the expansion of businesses, the demolition of close to 400 long-dilapidated structures and positive national publicity about the city’s 2010 comprehensive plan that city officials hope will attract developers here.
But what makes Williams proudest? “The feeling I get that the attitude of this community is changing,” Williams said. “It’s one of hope and optimism.”
The perception that walking downtown after dark is dangerous still exists, he said. But Williams said the increased number of people downtown for events and shows at the Chevrolet Centre, the DeYor Performing Arts Center and other locations shows that perception is lessening.
“The evolution of downtown is helping people to rediscover it,” he said. “We can all be proud of our downtown.”
Williams said he drives through downtown after events and shows and is pleased that restaurants and bars in the area are filled.
The mayor said there are other downtown projects that will continue to help it grown. Those projects include:
The Frangos Group’s developing the Wick Building on West Federal Street and the Realty Building on East Federal Street into high-end apartments and condominiums.
The continued improvement work to the city-owned 20 Federal Place, formerly known as the Phar-Mor Centre, on West Federal Street.
The planned development of the $5.9 million Taft Technology Center, next to the Youngstown Business Incubator, by the Youngstown Central Area Community Improvement Corp., also on West Federal.
Expansions of current businesses in the city including Exal Corp., Industrial Waste Control/Groundtech and M-7 Technologies.
“We’re seeing economic development occur,” Williams said. “We all want new businesses, but the expansion of current businesses is an important gauge as to how we’re doing as a city.”
Read more of Mayor Williams' interview in Monday's Vindicator and on Vindy.com.