Friday, December 11, 2009

if we're going to build a parking deck, please oh please - let's do it right

from Friday's Business-Journal, on a new parking deck to be potentially constructed downtown along Commerce Street:
"Under the [2010 omnibus] appropriations act, which awaits a Senate vote and approval by the president, the 17th congressional district would receive a total $7.945 million, including $450,000 for the Youngstown Central Area Community Improvement Corp. to develop a 200-space parking facility to support Phase 4 of the Tech Block downtown. The deck would feature a pedestrian walkway to the $16 million Tech Block project, Ryan said.

Last month, the CIC authorized a financial and engineering feasibility study of a parking deck on the site of a surface lot that now accommodates 255 vehicles. The proposed lot, which could have 600 to 1,000 spaces, would be available for downtown workers and students at Youngstown State University, the CIC said at its November meeting."
In the world of parking decks, there are poorly designed parking decks and well-thought out parking decks.

Youngstown needs a good parking deck . . . with window space for design and limited commercial space on the street level for capacity growth.

Just think, plopping down a monolithic structure with no street interaction effectively creates a dull and lifeless pedestrian zone around the perimeter of the building.

In the space around the perimeter of the structure, there could be spaces for some amenities needed in the downtown neighborhood. For example: a dry cleaning business is needed, in addition to a convenience store or a bodega with basic sundries.

Here are some pictures of what I'm talking about in a recent trip to Baton Rouge:

In a nutshell, we are going to place a parking garage in the downtown which will be in that spot for the next 30 years.

please . . .

Let's do it right and incorporate some long-range planning.

- - -

btw, Baton Rouge also has a Kress Building it is attempting to renovate. Check it out:


Thursday, December 10, 2009

volunteers needed for 10th anniversary of First Night Youngstown

would you like a free button to attend all the festivities on December 31st for First Night Youngstown, with $5 dollars off for every one of your family members?

Or just want to help the effort and pitch in?

Volunteers are needed to work three-hour shifts at the event on December 31st. The span volunteers are needed is from 6pm to midnight.

if interested, please call the First Night Offices at (330) 718-6945.

An orientation meeting is planned for December 16th at 6pm if you'd like to come and hear more information. The meeting will be at the First Night offices in the big room (in the City Centre One building) facing Champion Street, that is, the space in between the main entrance of the downtown YMCA and Federal Street.

for some picts and video of First Night two years ago, click here.

I'd like to see this amazing performer there in the years to come:

click here to see an even more impressive performance.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

MVHS overview video now online

this video provides a nice overview of the Mahoning Valley Historical Society.

you can see more about their efforts to create a new history museum downtown here.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

exterior bricks going up on the new YSU business school

construction update:

The exterior bricks are now being applied to the new home of the Williamson College of Business, a 110,000 sq ft (that's huge) LEED certified structure, designed to connect YSU's campus with the core of the downtown.

In the distance, you can see the steeple of the First Presbyterian Church of Youngstown, the oldest church in the Western Reserve.

The church was founded on the first of September 1799, when this part of the world was a claim of the state of Connecticut - over 210 years ago.

To the left, you can see the newly-painted communications tower. At night, the gleaming red letters of YSU really widen the illuminated footprint of downtown.

You can see more pictures of what the exterior and interior will look like here.

To the left of the picture below, you can see the YWCA of Youngstown - also undergoing massive renovation at the moment.

The $8.1 million YMCA project will include 30 housing units and will restore parts on the building back to its 1911 grandeur.

At the base of one side of the building are the massive letters WILLIAMSON.

If what you see here excites you, consider giving to the construction campaign for the building.

Currently a $1.2 million matching grant by the Kresge Foundation is promised - but only if YSU can raise $2.4 million by December 31st.

That's in three weeks!

Click here to find out more concerning the challenge grant.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

PaPa's Puerto Rican Diner now open on East Side [near Hubbard]

If you've traveled between downtown Youngstown and Hubbard along Route 62/Route 7 over the past two months, you may have seen the sign for Papa's Diner - now serving Puerto Rican cuisine and good breakfast fare.

Saturday the SY blog had the good fortune to go inside and try out a few of their dishes.

Let's check em out.

located in a brick structure, which seems to include a few additions onto a house (like other local favorites such as the Boulevard and the Golden Dawn), Papa's Diner is open from 8am to 6pm Monday through Saturday, and until 8pm on Fridays.

The highlight of the dishes I tried was the roast pork with rice and beans for just over 7 dollars.

Great cut of tenderloin here:

The chicken pastelillo was a great choice too. Crispy crust, juicy meat, not greasy.

Another nice dish was the steak sauté topped with onions and peppers marinated in vinegar and oil, with four plantains on the side for 6 dollars.

Inside was a nice flat-screen television to watch games and morning shows, with stool seating at the counter and sit-down areas both in front and the cozy room in the back.

A steel mill painting and other great ethnic/religious accents added to the classic Youngstown style.

Due to how great the food and service was, Papa's Diner has been added to our Gems of Youngstown map. Click here for the description, or here for the map itself.

Papa's Diner
open Monday to Saturday 8am to 6pm (and till 8pm Friday)
is located at 2104 Hubbard Road in Youngstown
just 200 yards south of the Tod Engine Heritage site
which is worth a visit as well.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

congrats to Youngstown Ursuline and Youngstown Mooney for bringing home twin state championships

Two high schools based in the City of Youngstown were crowned State Champions in football on Friday.

Youngstown Ursuline defeated Coldwater 55-25 for its 3rd state championship.

Youngstown Mooney defeated Columbus St. Francis DeSales 35-7 for its 7th state championship.

way to bring it home.

congrats to the families and friends who supported their student athletes.

According to this article in the Youngstown Vindicator, this was the first year two teams from the Mahoning Valley won state football championships in the same year, and it was the first time a local school has won back-to-back titles (Ursuline).

- - -

just as impressive, an Ursuline student was one of 90 high schoolers in the country with a perfect 36 on the ACT exam this year.

Talk about running up a score.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

mayor williams on c-span's Washington Journal for the 3rd time this year

At 9am Monday morning, Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams joined the set of C-Span's Washington Journal.

Speaking to a national audience, it was his third appearance in 2009 on the show.

Among the topics discussed:
+ Tuesday's meeting at the U.S. International Trade Commission
+ technology-based employment growth
+ direct foreign investment in Youngstown
+ economic development initiatives with a strong ROI
+ university/city partnerships

and throw in a few phone calls by the diaspora as well...

You can watch the 30 minute clip here:

Monday, November 30, 2009

rust belt chic - exhibit B

If you were located within the city limits on Saturday, you may have heard the sounds of multiple steam-powered train whistles.

To activate the whistles, The Mahoning Valley Railroad Heritage Association tapped into Youngstown Thermal's underground steam pipes that supply heat throughout the center of the city.

While the tones were better live, you can check out some of the recorded sounds here:

Set between the Mr. Peanut Bridge and the B&O Train Station, the annual Whistle Blow event ties into Youngstown's transportation heritage.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

thankful for new blogs to add to our local list

more explorations of Youngstown are blossoming on the blogosphere

from the initial oct 28 post of the blog Ytown and Beyond:
"We all have our opinions, I thought I'd share my experiences growing up in The Great Melting Pot of Youngstown, Ohio.

I used to be embarrassed to tell anyone I was from there. Now, it's like a Badge Of Honor!"
The author is "a Baby Boomer that grew up in the Youngstown, Ohio area wearing many hats in school, business, and life events. My Blog reflects that life and times, hopefully with humor."

- - -

from the Screenwriting in Iowa blog:
"My grandfather earned a Zippo lighter for spending 30 years working at Youngstown Sheet and Tube before he died of a heart attack. I’m sure there are a lot of Zippo lighters floating around Youngstown. What I’ve never seen is movie that captures that era.

So the time is ripe for a son of a son of a steelworker (or a daughter) to rise up and write some screenplays and make some documentaries on the area. Watch Gran Tornio (about Michigan in transition) and Country (about the farm crisis here in Iowa in the 80s) and start adding notes into your idea bank.

That’s what regional screenwriting is all about and there is still some magic to tap into down by Yellow Creek . . . there in Youngstown."
- - -

Finally, Reuters just published a series of stories about Youngstown in their ongoing Route to Recovery series.

It's a decent snapshot of what it's like on the ground in Youngstown:
- dreamers trying to marshal the resources to make an impact
- technology-based businesses succeeding and thriving
- how downtown is the location for future businesses
- real suffering exists due to poverty

Friday, November 20, 2009

tenants moving into Realty Towers

nice video up by the Youngstown Vindicator's Bill Lewis:

more info on the building they moved into here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

the beautiful words of Ed Galaida on Youngstown's Mill Creek Park

Don't you love the smell of really really old books?

The Shout Youngstown blog has acquired a very significant old tome, that being an original printing of Edward Galaida's "Mill Creek Park" from 1941.

on page one of this great historical text, one can find the introductory paragraph from the book's forward.

They are some of the most striking words I've read in print, and the SY blog would like to share them with you.

(editor's note: the original words are in paragraph form, but for spacing purposed have been rearranged below.)

From the placid times of the nomad Indians
to the present age,
Mill Creek Park and its flanking acres
have unendingly offered solace to understanding spirits.

Sounds in the waters,
in the underbrush,
overhead in the firry hemlocks and the shady hardwoods,
frightened silences;

colors of the rising and setting sun;

kaleidoscopic changes from season to season;

smells sweet, strange, exotic, heavy, and delicate;

currents of moving air
that arouse moods and stir deep inexplicable sensations--

these make up, to many nature lovers,
the whole significance of Mill Creek Park.

more pictures here, from Hyland Digital Images.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

from senseless, stupid destruction grows subtle arson art

Setting intentional fires to vacant properties is a serious problem in many cities.

In Youngstown recently, two fires set during the month of October destroyed four historical structures on the north side - all within the same block. The concentration of the damage and grandeur of the original homes really upset many people.

The Youngstown Renaissance blog covered the arsons particularly well, complete with before and after photos, in addition to a respectful dialogue in the comments section.

It's appalling that firefighters have to risk their lives put out these arsons, and it's suspicious that private construction firms the next day are leaving messages at city hall to clean up the sites for free (to loot any salvageable remains).

- - -

Earlier in the week came word that some signage was popping up around the arson site on Pennsylvania Ave. I went this morning to investigate what others have been talking about:

No comments here on the signage . . . make your own interpretations.

But, if you have any information on the arsons, contact the numbers on this sign:

Tips to 330.782.0055 and 330.743.2141 can lead to a $5,000 award.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

the business-journal launches "daily buzz" video feature

Kudos to the folks at the Business-Journal, as they continue to build value around their news-reporting prowess.

Earlier today, visitors to their website were able to view the premiere episode of Daily Buzz, which may become a welcome addition to your own daily media consumption.

You can watch the premiere in a stand-alone webpage here, just in case the tomorrow's edition is displayed on their homepage before you read this post.

- - -

The Business-Journal seems to be spreading its wings of late, incorporating alternative methods for sharing the news they collect with the region and beyond.

For example, the paper is identified as the local content provider for the new mega-regional NEOtropolis show on pbs.

Add to that their recent three-minute local interviews, and now this daily news and business review, and you have top-shelf hyper-local journalism. (as opposed to stuffing a publication with too many canned AP stories)

- - -

If it seems like this blog is heaping praise today, it's because The Business-Journal deserves it.

This blog has never received payment or gifts for writing on a subject or pushing an event (we've been offered on occasion), nor will the SY blog ever do any form of advertising.

This whole blog thing is a four-year experiment in sharing stories, raising awareness, and unintentionally building trust with an audience.

So when recalling the 4th of the 10 Rules of Living of someone I never had the chance to meet face-to-face, we need to give credit where credit is due:

The Business-Journal
delivers outstanding journalistic content every day with high value - and it is a joy to absorb their content, both as an in-print subscriber and an online viewer.

Monday, November 09, 2009

shoutyoungstown is now on twitter

have finally made the jump into Twitter for the first time.

access feed here.

- - -

hopefully the SY blog will be used for more in-depth coverage, and the twitter stuff can be used to pass on fun bits.

for example, this video was posted today on YouTube:

a commercial for an establishment "in the new youngstown"

3 new videos total can be seen on their channel.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

required watching - NEOtropolis

episode #1 is up and streaming...

click here to watch the premiere.

Mr. Mulready, I'll be tuning in next week.

Friday, November 06, 2009

NEOtropolis premiers tonight, Friday 9pm, on local PBS stations

how often you do receive a press release announcing a tv show that caters just to you?

well, besides this show:

Tonight at 9pm is the premier of NEOtropolis on Western Reserve Public Media, a weekly show that "focuses exclusively on the business and economy of northeast Ohio. The show will tell the full story of the regional economy, sharing both the challenges and opportunities unfolding in northeast Ohio."

from the press release...
The program is hosted by Thomas Mulready, publisher of Content partners are Crain’s Cleveland Business and The Business Journal of Youngstown.

“NEOtropolis will offer timely information about the region’s business and economy in a fast-paced yet in-depth format,” said Duilio Mariola, Western Reserve Public Media executive producer. “We want to be a vehicle for dialogue about regionalism for the four major cities in our broadcast area — Akron, Canton, Cleveland and Youngstown.”

Can someone DeVo this for me?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Mayor Williams one of eight featured "Public Officials of the Year" by Governing magazine

more of the world is taking notice.

strong leadership
leads to supportive press
leads to inquiries for outside investment
leads to realities like this...
"Now we are thinking in 10-year increments moving forward. When we talk about a technology economy, which would have been laughable five or 10 years ago, having a tech core downtown that attracts some of the best and brightest college students, that pays them $50,000 and $60,000 a year right out of college, while they're able to live in an upscale apartment complex that just opened — these are all things we're going to be talking about for Youngstown in 2010, 2015 and 2020. Downtown Youngstown is once again becoming a destination point for people in the region, whether it's arts or entertainment or culture or business."
and repeat.

story here. interview here.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

the death of music cassette tapes, and the birth of ohio casinos

think back to the last time you bought a music cassette tape...

it's been a while, hasn't it?

perhaps now you spend your money on audio CDs, or downloadable files from iTunes.

You may be spending about the same amount of your income on music as you did ten years ago, but the format has changed.

You've shifted spending your cash from Product A to Product B.

- - -

What does this have to do with casinos?

let's consider dining at local restaurants, buying gifts for friends and family, and other personal spending decisions to all be wrapped into Product A.

then let's consider someone's spending at casinos to be Product B.

If casinos are placed into Ohio's four largest cities and downtowns, many many people will be buying Product B. That means fewer dollars and less opportunities to buy Product A.

The result:
when casinos go up ... personal spending on other goods such as tickets to the performing arts, dining and family restaurants, and donations to charity go down. That means the people associated with these components within the community will lose their jobs.

Net community-wide job growth is zero.

This is the fallacy of all the "economic development" claims by those pushing casino growth.

If the total amount of money in a community is not growing because of exports or stays the same, all we are talking about here is shifting money, not gaining money.

And like any modern slot machine, the house always wins over time.

Sure, here and there people may be winners or losers at certain instances pulling the handle, but system and machine is designed in the long run that the casino always walks away with profit.

Say No to Issue 3.

and say no to lies about economic development.

Monday, November 02, 2009

best youngstown halloween costume this year


actually, there are some palm trees in the background - so we know it's not the south side.

curiously though, the video is tagged "youngstown ohio"

Saturday, October 31, 2009

halloween rust belt chic - ballroom dancing in empty buildings

happy halloween all.

lots of events downtown tonight.

last night, the streets were alive with the zombie dead.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

friday's zombie crawl meets at Oak Hill Cemetery - makeup to be provided

It seems over 170 people have signed up on Facebook alone for Friday's downtown Zombie Crawl.

Everyone is invited to attend - even those who don't regularly visit social networking sites.

However it's not just a walk through town, but a string of live-action, historical, and downtown exploring events.

(sweet posters!)

The City of Youngstown - The Oakland Center for the Arts - The Mahoning Valley Historical Society invites all the interested and curious to the...


here is the lowdown:

Meet at the uber-historic and cool Oak Hill Cemetery / local make-up artists will be onsite with Zombie make-up $5 / The Mahoning Valley Historical Society will be giving organizing tours of the Cemetery.

Zombies and all interested parties will gather at the Mr. Peanut Bridge. (red bridge connecting downtown to the Commons)

All zombies in attendance will saunter over the Mr. Peanut Bridge to West Federal Street and beyond, creating mayhem in the streets. (note: for eating purposes, the YBI has a high concentration of brains in the vicinity)

Crawl ends.... Youngstown Zombie madness parties start all over

8pm - 11pm
the Mahoning Valley Historical Society will host a Halloween Party at the Burt Building (325 W. Fed - where ice cream on a stick was invented) $10 includes haunted tour through the historic Burt Bld. local ghost stories, frightful artifacts, costume contest, dancing, and cash bar.

the Oakland Center for the Arts will have $10 tix for their opening night of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show".

Later in the evening, select downtown establishments will offer drink specials for Zombies only. They include:
The Draught House
The Lemon Grove
Rosetta Stone
Buffalo Wild Wings
Cafe Cimmento
The Royal Oaks

if you ever wondered what happened to the Chairman on Iron Chef:

Sunday, October 25, 2009

new web site for ybi now up

a revamped website for the Youngstown Business Incubator is now up and running at

the Frequently Asked Questions section is especially well done, for those looking to understand what the YBI is all about. (link here for FAQs)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

video of casino debate: "Issue 3 enshrines a monopoly in the Ohio constitution"

The decision on Issue 3 is less about a thumbs up/thumbs down vote on gambling in Ohio alone, but instead is more about shortchanging the people of Ohio through large cash shifts to two private companies.

Still not decided?

Well, the City Club up in Cleveland has posted this week's Issue 3 debate online between Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams and Quicken Loans' Dan Gilbert on YouTube. After some introductions, the debate begins at the 4:30 mark...

Part 2 here. (10 minutes)
Part 3 here. (10 minutes - questions from IdeaStream)
Part 4 here. (10 minutes - on amending the constitution)
Part 5 here. (10 minutes - on equitable tax rates)
Part 6 here. (10 minutes - final statements)

- - -

Issue 3 as written selects four specific parcels on Ohio to build these casinos, and exclusively embeds those four locations in the state constitution.

The parcel in Columbus is located right in their Arena District, a super-rich area to begin with. Millions and millions of dollars will be flowing from the rest of Ohio into already super-rich Columbus. More of Dayton's wealth into Columbus, more of Southeast Ohio's wealth into Columbus, more of Central Ohio's wealth into Columbus.

watch the videos yourself, and remember to fill out your absentee ballots or vote early if you are able to do so.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

the current view from my inner city neighborhood within youngstown ohio

It's wonderful having Mill Creek Park located on the edge of your neighborhood.

A view from Fellow Riverside Gardens overlooking Lake Glacier:

Things are starting to pick up in the Garden District.

An expanded botanical gardens, surrounded by greenspace on three sides, a neighborhood plan, ethnic eats, reasonable commercial and residential space, and most important...GREAT neighbors.

more here.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

why you might want to vote "no" Issue 3, regardless of your personal politics

Issue 3, the current push to allow casino gambling in state of Ohio, is a poorly designed and unjust effort.

You, the voter, really need to examine the ballot language on Issue 3 to assist your decision.

Upon reading it, I personally became convinced the current casino plan is an unwise path for our state to follow.

Please vote "no" on Issue 3.

I'll argue in the space below - regardless of your political persuasion - Issue 3 is something that may conflict with your virtues.

- - -

As an economic development professional, I contend Issue 3 is not economic development.

In the field, the present casino proposal is what is known as "bad money" in a local economy.

Please click here to read an old post about concept of "good, bad, and neutral" money.

one regularly-heard beef is that the current design unfairly shifts and redistributes money throughout Ohio, and will exacerbate hardships for many communities and individuals.

but here are some other concerns may more align with your sensibilities:

If your preferences are more Libertarian, Issue 3 stifles competition and creates a monopoly for a handful of entities. How is creating a monopoly in this case in Ohio's long-term best interests?

If Republican - for Issue 3 to take shape, Ohio voters are asked to change the state constitution. Not state law, but the constitution. How is an act like altering the constitution in Ohio's long-term best interests?

If Democrat - Issue 3 if passed will shift billions of dollars from people to the hands of a few. How is massive wealth distribution to make rich people even richer in Ohio's long-term best interests?

If an independent Mahoning Valley resident - Issue 3 if passed gives the shaft to the people of Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties. Construction jobs go to places like Cincinnati and Columbus. It ignores the rest of the state. How is building casinos in already more prosperous portions of the state in Ohio's long-term best interests?

Nearby casinos aren't doing well either.

Pittburgh's new casino is performing poorly, already not able to make its payments. Detroit's Greektown casino has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The former Cleveland mayor and retiring Senator George Voinovich has brought up other interesting points recently, including already formed sweetheart deals, low returns to the state, and marginal new job creation.

Little gain for a lot of pain.

After reading the ballot language, please join me in voting no on Issue 3.

Friday, October 16, 2009

it's the diaspora, stupid.

Is a fundamental component of improving a regional economy improving the connectivity to a region's own diaspora?

Today's Youngstown Vindicator highlights the opening of the VXI Center in 20 Federal Place, and tells the story of how the communications company selected the Mahoning Valley as a place to expand:
"Chris Butcher, who started with VXI Global Solutions two years ago in Los Angeles, said he and a few others talked up Youngstown when they heard the company was looking to locate its first call center in the Eastern time zone.

“I said, ‘If you want more people like us, and if you want to get the results we’re getting, come to Youngstown, Ohio,” said Butcher, 35, a Howland native who now lives in Hubbard.

Tobias Parrish, vice president of U.S. operations for the Los Angeles-based company, said executives looked at the area based on employee recommendations and liked what they saw."

"VXI intends to fill up the fourth floor of the building with 500 workers and has talked to the city about adding more workers on the fifth floor as business grows."
This blog reviewed last week the value proposition of expanding your technology-based business to the city of Youngstown:
"Youngstown has some of the lowest prices for office space and skilled labor costs in the United States; Youngstown is in close proximity to some of the smartest places and largest markets in the world (including Pittsburgh of G20 fame); Youngstown is home to its own clusters of IT and advanced materials companies and research; and, Youngstown now has the political and community leadership who are ready and willing to engage you."
Video and Business-Journal story with further details here.

Yesterday, the Greater Youngstown 2.0 blog highlighted some of the political leadership.

fired up . . . ready to go.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

flip through ybi's Technology Forward 2009 magazine

The "Youngstown Business Incubator" is a set of three words that has been popping up all over the place.

Whether you've heard the words on the floor of the U.S. Senate, you've read them in this week's international print edition of The Economist, or you've seen them adorn buildings in downtown youngstown, the YBI presence and economic impact is continually growing.

But do you, dear reader, actually knows what goes on within those walls?

If you're curious, or if you know the generalities but not the specifics, then please check out this magazine:

The following link

will take you to a 28 page overview, highlighting the philosophy, the companies, and the various projects that are taking place through the YBI.

in school, it would be referred to "required reading".

read it online, print it out, email to a friend...

and become further informed on what is going on in downtown youngstown.

Monday, October 12, 2009

rust belt chic - exhibit A

I'll be building a case over the next few weeks.

Rust Belt Chic:
when daytime bocce courts with a few rows of seating (where else in America are there stands for bocce spectators?) get converted into a discothèque at night...

Friday, October 09, 2009

The Economist: "Youngstown . . . A young town again"

Maximizing your profitability as a company, or trying to find the best place to expand your business is a tough task.

If you're reading this post right now and have a son, daughter, cousin, family member, or friend who may influence the future direction of the company they work for, consider sending them the address for this post:

After reading the article from this week's international print edition of The Economist, while it is clear there is much work to do - the value proposition of Youngstown as a place to start or expand a business is coming into sharper focus...

Youngstown has some of the lowest prices for office space and skilled labor costs in the United States; Youngstown is in close proximity to some of the smartest places and largest markets in the world (including Pittsburgh of G20 fame); Youngstown is home to its own clusters of IT and advanced materials companies and research; and, Youngstown now has the political and community leadership who are ready and willing to engage you.

to highlight one component from "Youngstown - A young town again":
"Yet for the first time in years morale in the city seems to have improved. One developer is hard at work converting old downtown high-rises into stylish new apartments. And Federal Plaza, the once abandoned main drag, is now speckled with a few clubs and restaurants. On Friday and Saturday nights, twenty-somethings spill out onto the pavements."
- - -

It's interesting to wonder . . .

Out of all the cities in the world The Economist could profile this week in its pages, why choose Youngstown?

Whatever the reason, realize that as people around the world this week read this article, the story of a rebounding Youngstown with its own special value proposition will be in front of their faces.

And in their minds, the realization of Youngstown as a place of opportunity strengthens.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Polish Youngstown celebrates 1st anniversary thursday with "vodka fusion night"

People look at me like I'm nuts when I say this,

but one of the best things you can do with those extra quarts of vodka we all have lying around the house is to drop a couple sticks of fresh horseradish root inside.

keep the horseradish in the bottle for three days, strain, store in the freezer, and serve.

na zdrowie.

- - -

If you've never tried infusing your own vodka or making vodka-based mixes, Thursday's event at the Lemon Grove in downtown youngstown may be perfect for you.

It's the one-year celebration of the Polish Youngstown group, formed to join the various Polish entities around town to promote "Kultura Polska" and such.

Flying in from New York City will be the brand manager from Żubrówka bison grass vodka to share some recipes and infusion tips.

similar to all the Polish Happy Hour events, Thursday after-work event starts at 5:30pm and will feature authentic Polish Hors’douvres, Zywiec (pronounced zhee-vee-ets) beer, acoustic live music, and door prizes.

just show up and join in.

could anything be more rust belt chic?

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Light The Wick presents news and arts by YSU students

just a short post today...a new weekly production has hit the internet:

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

the excitement of buying a house in the city of youngstown - personal stories

A trend has been popping up online - people writing about their decision to purchase a home in the city of youngstown.

The most recent example comes from today's edition of RustWire, featuring a female in her late 20s who works downtown and purchased a 1927 craftsman-style home on the south side.

she wrote:
"I began my search in Youngstown, focusing on both the north and south sides of the city. I first moved to the north side of Youngstown in 1999, stayed mostly in the city for the majority of my time in college, and then found an amazing job in downtown Youngstown.

Being familiar with living in the city, especially the north side, I had no apprehensions about moving back."
wow, check out the woodwork:

the piece ends:
"My goal is not only to live in Youngstown, taking great care of my house but also my street, block, and city. There are many good people and homes left in our city, still many great neighborhoods with architecture unknown to the modern contractor, yet to be discovered."
- - -

These types of stories are important.

They not only illustrate the facts on the ground - that people are choosing Youngstown - but they can also help others who are curious to form their own path to live here.

It's possible the path may illustrate to other readers a jumble of true feelings: apprehension, excitement, pride of historical craftsmanship, accomplishment, etc.

Here's the vibe from another new local blog, a recent newcomer to the Mahoning Valley:
"This is like something out of a dream...I can't believe that we might--ok we will?--get to have this house! I imagine myself snuggling into this house like a blanket on a cold night and never leaving..."
some are discovering the history of their Youngstown house:
"I spent some time this week doing research into previous owners of our house on the north side, part of the Crandall Park-Fifth Avenue Historic District. The research involved simply reading through the city directories from the ’20s through the ’80s."

"1927: Alfred O. & Mary K. Stuart. Alfred was chief clerk at First National Bank on 10 West Federal. The bank was the “oldest national bank in Ohio” and the third oldest in the U.S. (Not sure what qualified it as a “national” bank and what the difference is between that and anything else.) Their previous residence was 221 W Madison, and they later moved to 143 Park Avenue."

Here is a reoccurring story:

If you are a person looking to live comfortably while maintaining your costs - as a retiree, an artist, a writer, a software consultant, or a consultant with your choice of three major airports within an hour's drive - the city of Youngstown may be a great fit for you.

says another:
"I’ve spent the past twelve years moving around from apartment to apartment, and now I have this whole place and neighbors and a street (a tiny little street, which feels like its own little community) and, and, and . . . it feels really different being a homeowner than a renter.

And I hadn’t expected that.

It’s a good thing, I think, to feel that you have a place of your own."
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These simple, yet personal stories each come from one person's experience.

Do you have a relocation story to share?

Youngstown - you can be a part of it.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

would you prefer to drink regional craft beers or run in a race?

So many decisions in life...

to taste ethnic eats and drink craft beers, or to run a 10k...

Luckily in downtown youngstown on Sunday you can do either, or both.

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Sunday Oct 4 will the the 35th annual Youngstown Peace Race, an event that brings runners from around the world to the mahoning valley.

The race meanders a 5+ mile path through Mill Creek Park and its lakes and ravines, emptying the runner into downtown youngstown and to the finish line. If you've ever done the drive in the fall, it's spectacularly beautiful.

At the finish fine downtown from 11am-5pm will the Oktober Ethnicity Fest, where people can taste food from Youngstown's different eateries, try brews from across the Tech Belt, and listen to music.

Participating breweries will be Rust Belt Brewing Co. (Youngstown) Brew Kettle (Strongsville), Thirsty Dog (Akron), and Church Brew Works (Pittsburgh).

local Hungarian, Greek, Irish and Hispanic food vendors will all be serving downtown.

music in sets by Bouzoukeetime (Greek), Innovacion (Latin), County Mayo (Irish), and Geo C and the Storm (Funk).