Downtown after 5 videos are big hit

A vibrant downtown is a main goal of Youngstown 2010.



YOUNGSTOWN — People dining in restaurants, eating ice cream outside, listening to musicians, bustling into sporting events: “It’s happening here!”

That’s the message of two videos unveiled Wednesday at the Chevrolet Centre, promoting downtown.

The videos — a one-minute spot that will show at the center during events, and a 30-second spot the city hopes local television stations will run as a public service announcement — show activities downtown, after 5 p.m.

“A vibrant core is one of the main goals of the Youngstown 2010 plan,” said William D’Avignon, director of the city’s Community Development Agency.

The idea is to show people, who might not be aware of it, the revitalization the downtown has realized in the past 10 years and the activities available, he said.

A new downtown

Boarded-up buildings and empty streets have been replaced by a safe, clean downtown where activities occur even in the evening. “Many visitors still hold onto the old image of downtown,” D’Avignon said. “They’re unaware of the various eating establishments and nightclubs downtown.”

While people attend activities at the Chevy Centre and the DeYor Performing Arts Center, many aren’t taking advantage of the amenities available downtown before and after those events.

The videos were produced by Keynote Media Group with assistance from Accent Media, both of the city.

All but one scene in the videos was shot during a five-hour period May 25, an evening when the downtown area hosted a Party on the Plaza on East Federal Street and a Mahoning Valley Thunder game at the Chevy Centre.

The videos met the approval of those attending the unveiling.

Voicing their approval

The videos show ribs sizzling on a grill at Charlie Staples Bar-B-Q on West Rayen Avenue.

“I think it’s one of the best videos I have seen,” Staples said. “That’s Youngstown.”

He’s expanding his business to provide additional seating. On evenings when there are events downtown, he runs out of seats at the restaurant.

The expansion will triple his seating capacity.

Others also gave it high marks.

“I thought it was very, very good,” said John Getchey, executive director of Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, the metropolitan planning organization for Mahoning and Trumbull counties. “It was cool.”

It showed the vibrancy of downtown, he said.

Reid Dulberger, executive vice president of the Regional Chamber, believes the videos show the improvements downtown has realized over the past several years.

That’s something a lot of people don’t know about.

“We hear people say, ‘I didn’t know that was downtown,’” Dulberger said.

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