Two designs will help light up downtown

YOUNGSTOWN -- Federal Plaza director Claire Maluso said she hopes selling T-shirts will accomplish two things: promote downtown and raise money to illuminate it.

The T-shirts display the Downtown Youngstown logo, which debuted last year and features the phrase "It's Happening Here." The other T-shirt design was created by Tony Trolio at Trolio's Original T-Shirts in Poland and features an artistic rendering of the city with the words, "Y-Town...It's about believing in our town."

Maluso said the T-shirts will be sold at downtown businesses, but had not confirmed the locations yet. She said she expected the list of vendors to be announced in the near future. Maluso also encouraged downtown business owners to contact her if they were interested in selling the shirts. Business owners are able to put their names on the back of the shirts for an additional $2 per shirt.

The T-shirts are available for $15. Sweatshirts with the designs are available for $25. Both are available in all sizes for adults and youths.

"We're also doing placemats, menus, place cards and all kinds of things to promote the town," Maluso said.

Maluso said anyone interested in purchasing a shirt should come down to the Office of Economic Development in Suite M-8 at 20 Federal Place. They will also be available at Trolio's Original T-Shirts.

The lighting project will receive $5 from each T-shirt and $12 from each sweatshirt sold.

The project was introduced in October 2004 as a way to enhance downtown, and is sponsored by the Office of Economic Development. The lights turn on and off with the city street lights and include some underground wiring.

The project began with lighting Federal Street, but Maluso said the next phase is to light the side streets and corridors. She said she's also hoping to spotlight buildings in addition to the lights in trees.

"Most of the big cities that are successful do things with beautification and lights," Maluso said.

She said she got the idea after traveling and seeing the way other cities lit up at night.

"I came back this time and wanted to do it and do it up right," Maluso said. "We want to clean it up and light it up."

Maluso said she is hoping to raise an additional $150,000 for lighting and electrical upgrades and will sell the T-shirts until that money is raised.

"It's a lot, but it may not be [unreasonable]," Maluso said.

She said she expects to get some support from the city, but encouraged the purchase of T-shirts and monetary donations from the public in any amount to help the effort.

"Nothing is too small. People should know they are contributing to something that is ongoing. The money is going directly to the lighting project, nothing else. Just lighting downtown," Maluso said.

Window cards for downtown businesses are also still available free of charge from the Office of Economic Development with the "It's Happening Here" logo.

Any questions should be directed to Maluso by calling (330) 744-1708, ext. 204.

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