Let’s restore McGuffey Plaza or give it a proper funeral service
Contrasts are very apparent in our Mahoning Valley. We see and experience them every day. It could be the difference between a convenience store and a grocery store or an active thriving business and an empty boarded storefront. You might see a lived-in well maintained home or a vacant house. Other contrasts include beautiful landscaped lots or empty littered lots. These contrasts are due to differences in socioeconomic levels, education or can be as simple as where you live.
I live on the East Side of Youngstown and am subject to a blatant example of blight each day. A contrast of what was and what is now. The McGuffey Plaza lies on the corner of Garland Avenue and McGuffey Road. Twenty-two acres of land that previously stood out as a new concept in retail. The McGuffey Plaza was the first mall project for the Cafaro Co. The Cafaros have gone on to build many malls and plazas, including the Eastwood Mall in Niles. The Cafaro Co. is now building a new hotel complex at the Eastwood Mall, and family members are well known for their philanthropic endeavors.
But all is not well at the McGuffey Plaza. It is now roped off and boarded up. It is vacant except for one retail store left in the plaza and two convenience stores bordering it. It is no longer an object of acclaim and beauty. It is now an ugly eyesore, retired to obscurity and death. Local residents drive and walk by apparently blind.
If we open our eyes, anyone would agree McGuffey Plaza, as it is now, has no place in Youngstown. No one would want this blighted structure in their neighborhood, on their side of town, in their community. We can no longer ignore nor accept the situation.
I place a spotlight on this site. I challenge each resident of the Valley to take a drive and take a good look. Why does it remain? What purpose is it serving?
Why can’t the Cafaro Co. do the dignified thing and give McGuffey Plaza a well deserved funeral? I call for renovation or demolition. Let us come together as a community and demand a solution. The time is now!
Cheryl L. Moss, Youngstown