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« Reason

Painful shrinkage

By Tyler S. Clark (Contact)


Published April 14, 2009

Youngstown is a city with a plan... and now without a planner.

We've admitted we won't grow to the size we once were... but demolition is expensive, and the tax base isn't growing.

We've got some federal funds to apply to crisis neighborhoods... but City Council insists on spreading the money according to thirty-year-old needs.

As for the plan, it's great to be recognized for it, but we've got to keep producing. A dormant city planning office is only going to stymie our prospects for advancement. 

As for demolition, be sure to attend the public meeting on deconstruction with David Bennink on April 23 at 7pm in the Ohio One Building's first floor auditorium. The coming months and years will require us all to come together and assist the city and neighborhood groups in securing vacant structures, maintaining abandoned properties and demolishing lost causes. The city has limited resources, and it's time to step things up.

Also, come to the Wick Park cleanup and potluck this Saturday, April 18, from 10am to 1pm. New plans for Wick Park have been drafted, and if things proceed according to plan, Wick Park will be the most exciting recreational asset on the north side.

As for City Council, we need to discuss how the members are serving their communities, and if they're looking at problems with an eye toward the best interests of all city residents or whether short-term, parochial interests are inhibiting shared progress. Do we have the right number of councilpersons? Shouldn't they be full-time positions? Are our wards right-sized in keeping with the 2010 vision?

What are your thoughts on the state of the city? 


Comments

1Erplane(473 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Hey Tyler - Great post as always. You ask relevant questions. I believe Ytown should ask one fundamental question now...why should Youngstown exist? From there you can latch on and ask more pointed questions to address its current shortfalls. In the 1900s, Ytown existed because it had location to natural resources to make steel, and was geographically appropriate for end markets. So why should it exist now? Well I for one believe to this day in the location argument...its still one days drive to 1/2 the US population. As I usually think about business and industry, its location to I-80, I-90, I-77, etc, should keep the valley relevant. Further, its a city that is big enough to bring in culture and lifestyle, yet not so big as to make new initiatives that costly and hard to achieve.

I know this is off topic from your issues, but there is a connection. As for your title, it reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where George is caught with his pants down after having come out of the pool. Classic...

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2Ianacek(883 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

The City let its Planning resource run down at the very time it needed increasing . The gap has been left to the community to fill . MVOC isn't a perfect fit because its main goal is social justice , whereas Youngstown also needs a business focus if it is to attract & not repel the very people who can create real jobs .

I agree that too much effort goes in to solving 30 year old problems . Youngstown is no longer a city unified by the steel industry . Perhaps the boundaries of the cities & townships in the Mahoning Valley need to be redrawn to reflect today's needs - perhaps a "north" city , "west" city & "south city" .Perhaps a protective moat or stone wall built around Poland would address their security concerns (lol).

A positve move is the establishment of a police base on Midlothian Boulevard . In theory , this central easily accessable location could enable both the South Side & Boardman to be policed MORE effectively with fewer officers in total. In common with all City departments , so much is spent on staffing that there is not enough left over for the equipment needed for productivity improvements . However, local politics may defeat that objective . But we can always hope .

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3tylersclark(182 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

@erplane, Thanks for your comments. I'm a huge Seinfeld fan, so yes I also made that connection!

And your comments about location are spot on. I think we should be talking about meeting in the middle. Youngstown's location is the ideal nexus for a transportation hub, and it's encouraging to see the surrounding cities agree to support a Port Authority director.

And, you're right, we've got arts and culture to spare.

@Ianacek, thanks for your comments. Security is an evergreen concern, to be sure. And I think MVOC would agree with you that they're not the ideal resource to tackle planning or economic development issues, though I believe their work will contribute toward the furtherance of those pursuits.

The nascent YNDC effort is a promising step in that direction.

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