Mayor, superintendent give reasons to cheer Warren
By Ed Runyan
Mayor Doug Franklin took the members of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber on a virtual tour of the city during his remarks at the annual Good Morning Warren breakfast.
From the new restaurant, coffee shop and craft brewery downtown, to a new senior-citizen housing complex and dialysis center on the West Side, he touched on the good things happening in the city.
He even suggested young people are taking greater pride in “the new Warren, Ohio,” viewing it as a good place to live as they grow into adulthood.
“Two weeks ago, I had the honor of speaking at the Inspiring Minds gala,” he said Thursday of the local nonprofit organization that helps underserved youth aspire to college and careers.
“A number of students, both current and former, spoke about going away to school, but they all mentioned their plans to come back to Warren, Ohio.
“To me, that’s exciting; that’s what feeds my optimism. Our young people are coming back to our city and taking an interest in participating in our city’s activities.”
The mayor said a “$4 million total, total reconstruction project” on Youngstown Road from Ridge Road to Laird Avenue will be among the road projects taking place this year.
He said the drug-overdose problem and “our many challenges that we face on a daily basis” should not crowd out the good.
“If you haven’t seen Warren lately, or if your idea of our city is based on what you remember from 15 years ago, or maybe a perception you take away from the media, or a conversation perhaps with a neighbor, please allow me to take you on a little tour of our city,” Franklin said.
He said the main library is planning an expansion, and City Hall will be improved this year with funds from the 2014 bond issue.
The Mahoning Building at the corner of Main and Market is “one of the many downtown buildings that is getting a complete do-over with a new commercial and residential space,” he said of the project by Warren native Mark Marvin.
Many downtown buildings are improving their facades, such as Mocha House and Saratoga restaurants.
He commended Christopher Alan, a Warren native and Auto Parkit owner, for his purchase of property on Dana Street to house his automated parking company and for his purchases of buildings on Pine Park avenues.
Steve Chiaro, Warren schools superintendent, highlighted the success of the preschool program and the reduction in out-of-school expulsions among students.
“We have lost student enrollment over the past two decades,” he said. “In the past 20 years, we have lost 2,500 students in the city of Warren. This year, we have 72 more kids in our district than we had last year. We are getting kids back into the city of Warren.”