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Youngstown mayor targets finances, crime, neighborhoods as 2009 priorities

Published: Sat, January 3, 2009 @ 8:36 p.m.


Mayor Jay Williams sits down with his wife, Sonja , during the Mayor's Community Celebration at Stambaugh Auditorium.

By Peter H. Milliken

The mayor will seek re-election, but, this time, as a Democrat.

YOUNGSTOWN — Mayor Jay Williams said his priorities for 2009 will include keeping the city’s budget balanced, putting into effect the city’s landlord registration program and achieving another 28 percent or greater reduction in the city’s homicide rate.

“We’re going to again face some very tough economic challenges, but I believe that, if we work together as a City Hall, labor and management, that we can get through 2009, hopefully with no deficit and no layoffs,” the mayor said.

“We want to continue our neighborhood development. We’ve seen demolition have a positive impact on our neighborhoods,” the mayor said.

The mayor said he wants to use the city’s multimillion dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to strengthen neighborhoods through demolition and rehabilitation and to put into effect the landlord registration program.

The registration program, which has been on the books for six years, has so far been dormant, he said. The mayor said he’ll keep his campaign promise to put that program into effect in his first term.

The mayor, who announced he will seek re-election in this year’s Democratic primary, delivered his State of the City address Saturday at his annual community celebration at Stambaugh Auditorium, which was attended by 425 people.


1Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

"The mayor said he wants to use the city’s multimillion dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to strengthen neighborhoods through demolition and rehabilitation and to put into effect the landlord registration program"

Aw cmon Jay cut the bull. You know that unemployed constituents are the greatest contributor to the decay of the city. No Jay the landlords aren't the culprits.


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2gistol(72 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Abandoned, run-down homes need demolished. That is where the big time criminals do their work: sell drugs, run dog-fighting rings, bringing in prostitutes. Get rid of those old eye-sores as they only collect bugs & trash.

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3Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

"Abandoned, run-down homes need demolished. That is where the big time criminals do their work: sell drugs, run dog-fighting rings, bringing in prostitutes.

I dont know where you get your information but Youngstown's criminals like housing with utilities, heat included. The criminal activities are in public housing and private housing. As aware as you are there may be a criminal enterprise on your street.

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4gistol(72 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

OK Stan, so keep up the abandoned homes and you, "as aware as YOU are" can turn your head to see that nothing good comes from a home with a caved-in porch, boarded up windows, etc... does the word 'Arson' ring a bell to you? Why do you think these abandoned homes catch on fire all the time? Spontaneous combustion? They do their crime in there then burn it up. And I do realize that there is crime in every neighborhood, and that sometimes it's shocking what is going on practically in your own backyard. Abandoned homes do nothing to help a community. Do you? Do they help entice people to move to a neighborhood? can you name a reason why abandoned homes should be kept as eyesores?

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5Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Creating dust to cover the point? Tear down the deteriorated crap! They do their crime in comfort and not dark cold trashy houses. I'll bet that crime goes down closer to you than you think. Does the word BS ring a bell to you? The mayor tearing down old useless housing is good but it does nothing to stem crime. Will Jay get serious about eliminating crime? I see no signs of that happening. As long as his constituents are free to roam all day with no jobs crime will flourish.


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6TheLostPatrol(756 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Jay Williams has been a pathetic Mayor. I sure hope the Democrats or Republicans run at least a "trained seal" or "dancing bear" against him. And all those 4th and 7th ward voters that supported him (that eventually got him elected) thought he was going to clean up this town!

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7clayor(281 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

It is nice to see the mayor and his "first lady" all gussied up at a gala event while the majority of us, if we can afford it, are decked out in our jeans going thru the drive-thrus....wonder what we paid for them to wine and dine on at that lavish affair? I don't recall Ungaro or McKelvey having inaugural balls. Correct me if I am wrong.

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8harbres(29 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I moved here in 1996 --- and don't have a huge knowledge of Youngstown History... but seems to me that there has been at least SOME progress with Williams....

But since the growing trend I am noticing from the vindy followers here is "Anti Jay"... I have to ask was McKelvey or other past mayors soo much better that it is worth whining about Jay Williams all the time? Because like I said -- I have only lived here since 1996... but only really started to see some changes since Williams became Mayor.

I am asking this honestly not trying to be sarcastic...

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9One_Who_Stayed(237 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

"It's time for someone new to run the city."

I've got an idea Grump - why dont YOU give it a try. . .

With all your Monday morning quarterbacking, and 20/20 hindsight wisdom, I'm sure you could do a much better job than anyone else ever possibly could.

At the very worst, you could get into office, and just build a big wall around the whole city! You could lay the last brick just as you are stepping out of town into the bright sunshine and crime free happiness that is Austintown!

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10One_Who_Stayed(237 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago


There has been a ton of progress during Mayor Williams tenure. You need to keep in mind that the constant whinings of these perpetual malcontents like Grump and so many others here are simply a dying hold-over from the "Youngstown can never do anything right" mentality that, thankfully, is on its way out due largely to people like you moving back into the city from other parts of the country (BTW - I am one as well - not a native of the area).

Ungaro ran off to Liberty, McKelvey made some progress, Jay is finishing the job.

Welcome to Youngstown! (no sarcasm)

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11ytownoptimist(86 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Kudos to Mayor Williams & the other progressives in Ytown. They are TRYING & I do see progress. Stan & Old Man Grump never seem to have a positive thing to say. I admit to not even wasting my time reading their postings anymore because they are so filled with vitriol & have nothing to add. Harbres - I grew up here, left for over 25 years & returned. City government can't do it all. State & Federal monies will help. Most of all, coming together as a community & looking out for one another will slowly help Ytown rebound & improve. Demolition of vacant homes is a huge step in the right direction. As for mayoral galas, what is the problem? Are we not allowed to celebrate anything other than Jimbo's release from prison or a Pavlik bout or a high school football championship in this area? Geeze, lighten up people & smell the roses (they will return in the spring). :)

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12aeparish(669 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Bring back the mob.


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13YoungstownKidd(40 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

MVOC Organizes Officials, Community Leaders To meet with Ohio Department of Development Officials

Group to discuss resources from the state to tackle foreclosure and vacant property crisis

YOUNGSTOWN - Youngstown has the highest foreclosure rate and subprime lending rates in the State of Ohio and the resulting abandonment has left the city further challenged in its ongoing battle to address urban blight. Given this serious social and economic problem, Youngstown officials and citizens were rightfully pleased to receive news late last year that the federal government had passed the “Housing and Economic Recovery Act” of July 2008 which provides billions of dollars to cash-strapped local governments and states to acquire, demolish or rehabilitate homes vacated due to foreclosure. The City of Youngstown received a direct allocation from the Housing and Urban Development of 2.7 million; however, City of Youngstown Community Development Director William D’Avignon estimates that the cost to “stabilize” the City of Youngstown is $42.9 million. In addition to direct federal funding, the State of Ohio received $116 million in discretionary funds to additionally distribute to the areas of greatest need. In December, city and community officials submitted a formal request to the Ohio Department of Development asking for an additional $16 million, however, while Mahoning County as a whole received 2.9 million, the City of Youngstown received no specific funding from the State of Ohio’s NSP program.

As a result, the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative has secured a meeting with state officials to discuss the zero dollar allocation, state commitment to allocating other state resources to Youngstown to address the foreclosure and vacant property crisis, and current revitalization efforts that make Youngstown a strategic investment area. These efforts include but are not limited to: the nationally and internationally recognized Youngstown 2010 Citywide Plan, National Vacant Property Campaign Youngstown/Mahoning County Vacant Property Initiative, establishment of a county wide land bank, establishment of professional community organizing (i.e. MVOC), establishment of a multi-faceted, high capacity, city-wide community development corporation (i.e. Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation) and Congressman Ryan’s Urban and Suburban Communities Regeneration Act.

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14YoungstownKidd(40 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Friday's meeting is a key component of the MVOC’s vacant property organizing campaign. Community leaders along with city and elected officials will meet at the Vern Riffe Center in Columbus, Ohio on Friday, January 9 at 2:00pm. Among those confirmed to attend are Mayor Jay Williams, CDA Director Bill D’Avignon; Commissioner John McNally; Pastor Michael Harrison, Union Baptist Church; Patricia Dougan, President Seventh Ward Citizens Coalition; Joel Ratner, President, Raymond John Wean Foundation; Pat Lowry, Press Secretary, Congressman Tim Ryan; Kirk Noden, Executive Director, Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative.

WHO: The Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative (MVOC) is a broad-based community organizing initiative established in March of 2008. The primary focus of the MVOC is to unite groups throughout the community (churches, neighborhood groups, schools, etc.) to work together to increase the quality of life in urban neighborhoods in the Cities of Youngstown and Warren, Ohio. The MVOC seeks to begin about the process of neighborhood change through leadership development, research and policy work, and neighborhood actions and campaigns.

Phil Kidd

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15TheLostPatrol(756 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

What are you two (can I wipe your seat Mayor Williams?) peddling Williams Cheerleaders (One Who....whatever, and y..am I an Optimist.com) crying about? What flippin' PROGRESS has Mayor Williams done for Youngstown? Both of you, put your pacifiers back into your mouths and go to your respective playpens. This Mayor is an empty suit! Is he a role model for young african-american youth in and around this Valley...ABSOLUTELY! Do I applaud his ability to become the first african-american elected Mayor in this Town...ABSOLUTELY. Has there been worse mayor's in the past...ABSOLUTELY. But, this young man was elected to energize this community, and sadly, he's done nothing more than to have occupied the seat of Mayor of Youngstown for his first term in office. I am certain there is SOMEONE that is of Democratic stature that can give this "poster child" a run for his money. Many residents in this town are not happy with the lack of progress he's made to clean up the "criminal element" in their city.

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16projectgeniene(87 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Thanks for the clarification Phil! MVOC is a great organization & is really going to make a difference coupled with all the many efforts by Mayor Williams & others to improve things.

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17TheLostPatrol(756 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Jay Williams Watch??? What the heck is a "Jay Williams Watch"? What's he watching? This is the best you've seen Youngstown since you've lived all your life in this community????. There is NOTHING happening under what you say is "Jay Williams Watch". The only reason why the city is now demolishing vacant structures is that its the only game in town, since at one time this city had 150K+ residents, now its dipping to the low 70K+, and no ones living in the city anymore; hence vacant houses that go down as the people left. As for staying on the North Side, you better get a Bazooka-carry license if you plan on staying there, purchase some old razor ribbon fencing to encircle your property, and make sure you "duck" when your watching television every time headlights flash by your living room picture window, too.

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18aeparish(669 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I'd rather live on the North Side too at this point, because all the trash is leaving the city and going to the suburbs.

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19Askmeificare(700 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Maybe we can get that political mayor guy from Hubbard to bring a Disney park to youngstown. People will stay then. Maybe where Idora Park used to be. Anyone want to get right on it? Anyone? Hello? Hey, you left the light on!

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20aeparish(669 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

You think people will stay if there's a theme park? Last I heard, you coudn't use the Direction Card at concession stands.

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21CBDactivist(123 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Mayor Jay Williams is the catalyst that has revitalze and is continuing turning around Youngstown. He has the economic development attitude that has brought continued support to Youngstown from outside the community. He is bright,cares about Youngstown and its future and brings credibility to our city in outside circles all over Ohio. In short he is a CLASS ACT.

PS to Clayor
Your right about one thing! It is nice to see the mayor and his "first lady" all gussied up at a gala event !! But it didn't cost you or any city tax payer a cent! The People that attended paid to go to this non profit event with proceeds benefiting our community. So that is who paid for this event! Hope to see you there next year!

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22TheLostPatrol(756 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Even the "economic development" ducks at Crandall Park are leaving Town; they're tired of choking on the "tax abatement" beer tabs.

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23TheLostPatrol(756 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

....and you're stuck on the North Side. At least the ducks can fly away. Good luck selling that repo-estate of yours; "urban pioneer".

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24jireland1(41 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago


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25Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago


"Mayor Jay Williams is the catalyst that has revitalze and is continuing turning around Youngstown"

Must have missed it. What fantastic things happened?

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26TheLostPatrol(756 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

He kept Giant Eagle from closing in Cornersburg and prevented a Downtown Restaurant from relocating to a new Route 46 location in Canfield, just to name a few. LOL

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