By Alison D. Goebel. Last week I spent two days in Youngstown talking with residents about its downtown. I hadn't been to Youngstown since 2005 and I was pleasantly surprised by how much it had changed in the last five years. I remembered downtown Youngstown as a city with lots of buildings and no people—this trip I had trouble finding parking for all my meetings! Everywhere I ate, there was a line and every time I got lost, there was someone on the street who pointed me in the right direction.
(This is a photo of Youngstown’s oldest restaurant, Cassese’s MVR is a local institution not to be missed. In the background, in the center of the photo is new privately developed housing for YSU students and to the far right with the plaza space, lights and white pergola is Harrison Common—the cornerstone of the Smoky Hollow neighborhood redevelopment project.)
As a city in transition, Youngstown, and Mahoning Valley more generally, have done a lot to capitalize on their assets. They are taking seriously the need to enhance their quality of place to attract businesses and retain residents.