Facts are facts but Youngstown has been losing population since the 1930s largely because tax-payer subsidized sprawl. That, too, is a fact. However, it's an inconvenient one for many because in involves understanding decades of poor planning decisions and collective action to correct a problem that effects the entire Mahoning Valley. It appears the current generation is starting to understand this and is doing something about it. So, there is hope.
That being said, population loss doesn't tell an entire story of a community nor has it prevented progress from happening in the city. Downtown Youngstown has seen more investment in the last several years then it has seen in an entire generation. And there is more top-notch work being done in the neighborhoods today than there has been in decades. However, we're 10-20 years behind communities like Pittsburgh, Akron and Cleveland in this work. So, the challenge is greater but we're a smaller city and closing the gap every year.
To that end, I've never seen more progress being made in Youngstown than right now and I've been here for the better part of the last 20 years. I think many others would agree. In fact, I just came from a city planning conference in Pittsburgh and many of the individuals there - some being the top professionals in the field - were very impressed with the work being done in Youngstown.
The point: Youngstown is still very challenged and it will likely continue to lose population over time but that doesn't mean it will continue to lose momentum in helping make it a smaller but better place to live in the future.
May 19, 2016 at 12:52 p.m.
What's not included in these stories on population loss is how much funding is being spent on sprawling infrastructure AMID the population and tax base decline. Since 1970, Northeast Ohio has lost 7% population but increased its physical footprint by 25%. In Mahoning County alone, we are spending limited tax dollars on widening I-80, 680 off-ramps and Western Reserve Road. That's millions of dollars that could be spent on improving roadways and infrastructure in already developed areas and which would better strengthen the core of the region.
Mahoning County also has TWENTY SEVEN individual units of government for a county of 231,000 people. And that doesn't even include the unincorporated communities. To put that in comparison, the City of Akron - a single unit of government - has nearly 200,000 people.
If this region were better planned, there could be numerous services and millions of dollars of annual spending that could be saved or consolidated and put back into the community. Instead, we continue to kick the can down the road and expect a community that has an aging population and youth who leave for other areas that are better planned to somehow pay for all of this. It's as it the last 40 years never existed.
That's poor leadership. In my opinion, you need more planners in decision making positions. They think about the greater good of a region and not just specific constituencies.
Worth a read: http://tinyurl.com/hjpqd72
March 25, 2016 at 12:22 p.m.
Good piece. I would argue that there were actually five things that happened about ten or so years ago that has allowed for downtown's current growth:
1. Reopening of Federal Street to east/west traffic.
2. W. Federal becoming a state-recognized entertainment district (which allowed for many discounted liquor licenses for bars and restaurants).
3. City of Youngstown's 'Youngstown Initiative' program which provided small business owners a $100K forgivable loan of sorts.
4. Covelli Centre (then Chevy Centre). Note: The comment above about how it could have been placed in a better location has validity. The original location for was planned for the west end of downtown near where the fire station is located. That location would certainly have been even more impactful for spin-off development (and would have greatly aided the B&O Station and Anthony's On The River - venues that are currently underutilized or closed).
5. Creation of the State of Ohio's Historic Preservation Tax Credit program in 2006. This program has generated more than $1.4 billion in investment, rehabilitated 120 historic buildings, and created 3,439 housing units throughout Ohio. It Youngstown, it allowed for the development of Realty Tower, Federal Building, Erie Terminal, Wells Building and soon-to-be Stambaugh (among others). A total game-changing program.
The YSU Centennial Campus Master Plan is also worth mentioning. It advocated for development that would connect the campus to downtown. This would influence the decision to build the Williamson business college on Wood Street and open up Hazel Street.
Finally and as more of an overarching note, the revival of downtowns is a national trend. Given downtown Youngstown's assets, architecture, proximity to a riverfront and a institution of higher learning only a few blocks away, perhaps it was an idea whose time had finally come.
But whatever the reason(s) may be for downtown's current growth, I think most are glad things are finally moving forward, period. Here's to the next 10 years.
October 18, 2015 at 11 a.m.
Youngstown City Charter Section 83: "All wards shall be composed of contiguous and compact territory, as nearly equal in population as possible...If the Council fails to make such sub-divisions...the Director of Law shall make such sub-divisions..."
Translation: the Mayor can authorize the Law Director to move forward with redistricting. Diplomacy has been exercised. It's now time for some political leadership. Authorize the Law Director to move forward with the selection of a map and let's move on. 33 years is long enough.
March 1, 2014 at 1:09 a.m.
This is the right call. There are many events downtown throughout the year that require blocking off streets. Most are one-day events. Some of the larger events require closing down several blocks for several days. Those who spend a good deal of time downtown realize this just isn't feasible any longer.
The larger events have been a great draw for downtown but some of these events have grown over time (a good thing) as has downtown (also a good thing). There is more business, residents and plain general circulation happening on a day-to-day basis (without events). Much more so than there has been in probably 30 or so years.
Within a year or so, you'll have several more developments: the Wick Building (30 apartments, 22 hotel units); Stamabugh Building (110 unit hotel); Wells Building (3 floors of apartments); Gallagher Building (3 floors of apartments; 2 restaurants); Farmer's National Bank (Realty Building).
This is, of course, in addition to things that have already developed over the past several years: Oh Wow!, Federal Building (apartments & businesses), VXI (20 Federal Place), Eastern Gateway Community College, PNC Bank, etc.
The Covelli Centre is a $42 million, taxpayer funded entertainment facility a block and a half from the center of downtown. It accommodates outdoor music events, sporting events and other entertainment events like rib burn-offs, etc. with no problem.
The Covelli Centre's executive director (Eric Ryan) is more than happy to make the transitions work. He's on record saying so. Moving larger events to Covelli would allow events to grow while also allowing for set up to take place without having to disrupt the rest of downtown for several days in advance. This is why we built the facility.
I attend almost all events downtown each year. I would continue to do so if they were just a block and a half away. And I think many others would, too.
August 10, 2013 at 1:16 p.m.
By the way, there's no mention of what this means for the facade of the State Theater...
August 7, 2013 at 5:09 p.m.
A point of information: "The plan was to build a parking lot there, but because of unexpected expenses related to the Semple project, the CIC didn’t have money for the lot, which would need reinforced concrete on either side to support it."
That is incorrect. The plan was for a pocket park. That was what was presented to and approved by the Design Review Committee nearly 5 years ago. I was a committee member at the time.
August 7, 2013 at 1:55 p.m.
Here are two charter amendments that pertain to council that you'll likely see on the spring 2014 ballot:
July 30, 2013 at 1:38 p.m.
Thank you for being willing to initiate the discussion, Jason Loree. That's regional leadership. I have mixed feelings about entering into an economic development deal that could potentially perpetuate sprawl further southward in a region that is not experiencing net growth and has an abundance of already existing underutilized industrial land within its existing footprint, however, your willing to discuss working together cooperatively regarding such deals is refreshing and appreciated...and hopefully only the beginning.
July 25, 2013 at 9:15 a.m.
Try, Crandall Park.
July 23, 2013 at 7:19 p.m.