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.
The Charter Review committee voted to make a recommendation to abolish term limits. I voted no but lost the vote. I was also the one who advocated to the committee that term limits for council should not be abolished either (which the committee agreed with).
Get your facts straight before casting stones.
July 15, 2013 at 1:38 p.m.
The voters didn't have a chance to speak 'loud and clear' on nearly anything the Charter Review Committee proposed (except for watered redistricting amendment). And that is because Council would not allow them to.
Stayed tuned for two charter proposals from the Youngstown Neighborhood Leadership Council in the next week that will address both size as well as pay. Both are reasonable. And this time, residents will bypass Council and go straight to the ballot via petition.
July 13, 2013 at 4:34 p.m.