Ms. Raib, Mr. Detwiler, and Myself attended the ‘public information meeting’ held Monday at 3:00 p.m. in City Hall. The plans the city had developed were discussed and the community attendance of the meeting was overwhelming. I was able to spot other concerned students as well as faculty, staff, and administrators intermingled into the crowd. It pleased me very much to see such interest and involvement from YSU as we begin to solidify our University commitment to make campus a part of what is considered downtown Youngstown.
The plan that was presented was well described and logistically adds two more trees than would have previously been in the area. Many community members took issue with the creation or lack of parking spaces in West Federal specific to their needs or the needs of their businesses, these people were voicing their opinions somewhat adamantly. Certain design issues were brought up by many of those that attended affecting a variety of the design aspects. These included flaws in the diameter of the tree planters versus the damaging effects of salt-infused soil from snow management in the winter.
It is my belief that the overwhelming community response will table the plans to move forward temporarily while the opinions of the community are considered. While I cannot foresee much deviation from the plan as it stands now this is a resounding victory for the Youngstown community. The City now knows that the Youngstown community desires a more transparent local government that seeks to represent the interests and opinions of its constituents. This shows the true power of community action to bring citizen’s, businesses, and city officials together in the planning processes for the future of the downtown area.
Lastly, I’d like to thank the City of Youngstown, Mayor Williams, and Carmen Conglose for bringing the community of Youngstown a very effective, respectful, and informative meeting that sought public opinion in a very well though-out manner. It is my hope that the quality of this meeting is integrated into future efforts of the city.