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Old 06-01-2018, 01:43 PM
 
Location: Cleveland
3,198 posts, read 3,970,091 times
Reputation: 2508

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I went to downtown Youngstown on a Thursday evening for dinner, and found it almost completely deserted. The downtown is attractive and compact, and feels like a true Downtown, however there were almost no cars, pedestrians, or businesses. I was a little surprised that a place with so much potential for walkability, and so close to YSU didn't have more going on. I really think if a developer came in and developed it like they did E 4th St. in Downtown Cleveland, they would really spur a lot more foot traffic and development there. I realize that Youngstown is a depressed area, but with the College being right Downtown, I would think they'd be able to draw people in, and maybe start to get some activity Downtown, like other rust belt cities have done. Why hasn't the city leadership done more to capitalize on this asset?
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Old 06-01-2018, 09:02 PM
 
Location: Youngstown, Oh.
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You can't make the assumption that, because downtown Ytown was dead on the night you were there, it's always dead. It's difficult to say whether or not there wasn't some reason that no one was downtown on the night you visited. I was downtown on a Tuesday night, late last fall, and had to go to more than one location, to find a place that didn't have a wait time. I don't know if your experience, or my experience is normal.


Speaking of E. 4th St., though. They are currently considering permanently closing one block of N. Phelps St. to make it pedestrian only. I imagine that this street would be a lot like E. 4th.
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Old 06-01-2018, 11:36 PM
 
Location: Cleveland, OH
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I would say that cities with a truly lively downtown don't ever have "off nights." For the record, I don't think Cleveland has a truly lively downtown quite yet either (weekdays after 6 without a sports game are pretty quiet, ditto weekends without an event that draws 10k+, especially with any kind of bad weather).

Seems like there is a lot of potential in Youngstown. I think the problem might be that people just don't have the capital and even if they do, they'd rather take chances on opening a business in a city with a bit more of a proven track record. It's gonna take a group of people with a lot of passion and a lot of money to take a potentially transformative chance on Youngstown, and even then it might not work. Might simply just not be enough spending power in the area.
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Old 06-02-2018, 12:31 AM
 
Location: Youngstown, Oh.
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Can both of you elaborate?

To me, your posts read as if you think downtown is just sitting there, static, waiting for a developer to come along and do something.

The reality is that development has been ongoing--if relatively slowly, when compared to Ohio's 3Cs--for the last 10-15 years.
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Old 06-02-2018, 08:51 AM
 
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For as hard as Youngstown has fallen over the past 50 years, I personally think their downtown is doing phenomenally well for a city of its size and economic stature. In general, you just aren't going to see a lot of people out and about in small cities in this country, and the fact that downtown YTown is as cleaned up as it is and storefronts are becoming re-occupied is a testament that something is working. Room for improvement? Certainly, but for a city that's essentially been written off for dead, I'm impressed with all of the developments that have happened downtown there.
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Old 06-02-2018, 11:25 AM
 
Location: Cleveland
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Let me be clear, I'm not ragging on Youngstown. I really like Youngstown a lot, and think it has a lot of potential. When I see how far Cleveland has come in the past 10-15 years, it disappoints me to see similar things not happening in Y-Town, because I think if they built the downtown scene up, people would come. I agree that the Downtown seems really nice, and clean, and seems to be getting some re-development. However, it was just a little eerie to see a downtown area so quiet at the dinner hour. It was like a ghost town. We ate dinner at Christopher's on E Federal St., which seems like a main drag (similar to Euclid Ave in Cleveland). There were hardly any people around in the restaurant or out, and you could walk across the street without looking both ways for traffic. All of the streets around there seemed equally quiet, although the nearby YMCA seemed to have some activity. I don't intend this criticism to be mean, I just think that if there was more street-life after business hours downtown Youngstown could really start to re-define and re-invigorate itself, and be a place people would really want to come to.
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Old 06-02-2018, 01:33 PM
 
Location: Youngstown, Oh.
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I understand what you're saying, but two things:

The activity downtown is concentrated mostly on West Federal, mostly in the 100 and 200 blocks. This is a little weird, IMO, and I'm hoping that, with the new hotel in the Stambaugh Building, activity will start to spread out further.

Downtown Cleveland's revitalization started in the early!mid 90s with the construction of the sports facilities and the Rock Hall. Downtown Ytown's revitalization started with the opening of West Federal (it was a pedestrian plaza) and the construction of the Covelli Center. These happened in the early/mid 2000s. So, we're about 10-15 years behind Cleveland.
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Old 06-02-2018, 01:57 PM
 
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I wouldn't beat yourself up too badly on lack of street life. Downtown Dayton, while larger in area and with generally a lot more venues and restaurants, almost always has a very "dead" appearance when you're out walking or driving (other than the Oregon District), but all of the bars and stuff are packed inside. You generally won't end up seeing a lot of street activity unless 1) parking is difficult and 2) people are going to more than one spot during their trip downtown. Give Youngstown a few more years and I think you'll start seeing some more activity outside. Dayton's picked up a lot of steam in the past year or so and it's starting to finally feel ever-so-slightly alive. YTown'll get there.
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Old 06-02-2018, 03:25 PM
 
Location: Arizona
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Where are the people going to come from? I think the downtown is doing very well considering the constant decline in population.

The only people I know that go downtown live in Canfield and they don't go that often, mostly when they have guests that used to live there.
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Old 06-03-2018, 09:51 PM
 
Location: Cleveland
3,198 posts, read 3,970,091 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thinkalot View Post
Where are the people going to come from? I think the downtown is doing very well considering the constant decline in population.

The only people I know that go downtown live in Canfield and they don't go that often, mostly when they have guests that used to live there.
I think if Downtown had more to offer people would come from all over the surrounding areas. There are some well-off suburbs surrounding Youngstown, like Canfield, Howland, Girard, Boardman. I’m sure people there would enjoy a night out downtown if there was more going on. Also, if there were more apartments, I bet you’d see YSU students and people who work Downtown moving there. We’re seeing a back to cities trend all over the country. Youngstown doesn’t seem to be capitalizing on it.
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