Future of Boardman is in hands, minds of residents
Boardman is one of the largest townships in Ohio and, arguably, has reigned as the commercial heart of the Mahoning Valley for several decades now. Its population has increased about 15 percent since 1970, and its commercial expansion has ballooned at a much faster clip.
Those who work and live there rightly take pride in that growth and in the 213-year-old community’s longstanding slogan, “a nice place to call home.”
Those same stakeholders also deserve a say in protecting Boardman’s assets and in charting the future course the community will follow. That’s why we’re pleased that the township trustees and other officials have committed themselves to actively engaging community input in drafting a multiyear comprehensive plan for Boardman’s future.
In the coming months, the planning and zoning department will write the plan that will be based in large part on public input. A plan for the township “should be coming from the community,” said Krista Beniston, planning and zoning director.
Beniston is absolutely correct about the importance of public input. After all, residents ultimately will pay for many of the improvements that make the final cut in the plan via their hard-earned tax dollars.
As a result, members of the community should make sure their voices and opinions are heard loud and clear. The first of two public meetings took place Thursday night, and a second is planned for 5 p.m. Feb. 5 at the Lariccia Family Community Center at Boardman Park.
In addition, township leaders are soliciting ideas via a community survey available online at www.boardmantownship.com. That survey plugs into many of the topics open for discussion, debate and possible consensus. They include:
Redeveloping the Market Street Historic District into a mixed-use walkable area with the character of an old-fahsioned downtown area.
Narrowing the heavily traveled Glenwood Avenue from four lanes into two lanes with a bicycle lane and turning lane.
Developing strategies for more safe and efficient entrances and exits to businesses along U.S. Route 224 to promote better traffic flow.
The survey and public input also seeks answers to questions about the township’s zoning code, transportation plan, economic development and arts and cultural expansion.
The campaign for maximum public input reminds us of that used by those drafting the Youngstown 2010 plan more than a decade ago.
We vividly recall about 1,500 people turning out for a session at Stambaugh Auditorium amid a snowstorm at which many productive ideas were offered. Some became etched in the plan that has brought several successes, including intensified downtown development and cleanup of long-neglected urban neighborhoods.