Concerned citizens speak out at public meeting

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Frustrated citizens made their voices heard Tuesday evening on different ways to improve their neighborhood.

A meeting aimed at addressing issues in Youngstown neighborhoods brought out raw emotions of those who live in the city.

“You got fragmented neighborhood watches who don’t even know each other,” said concerned citizen Clarence Boles.

“We still need to do a better job. We have people who are in positions who are lazy,” added 6th Ward Councilwoman Janet Tarpley.

The Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation is holding 13 meetings in March to get public input about key issues and possible solutions around the city.

“Vacant homes for example, code enforcement, streets. Fixing up generally the physical condition of the neighborhood,” said Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation deputy director, Ian Beniston.

After information is collected at the meetings, it will be presented to the city. The goal is to make changes in all of the neighborhoods, but YNDC indicated that it won’t be cheap and won’t happen overnight.

” It’s really important because the people get an opportunity to voice how they’d like their neighborhood to look like,” said Tarpley.

Public leaders are at odds over how to fund the solutions.

“You’re robbing Peter to pay Paul, you’re still broke,” said Rep. Bob Hagan, D-Youngstown.

Hagan fears the lack of funds will make any changes difficult.

“It’s all about funding. Our neighborhoods are falling apart because the state is cutting local funding,” said Hagan.

“The search for money is an ongoing battle. Our residents know that,” said Youngstown Mayor John McNally.

That’s why the city and YNDC will work to find money anywhere to make the changes happen.

“The overall goal is to improve the city,” said Beniston.

The remaining neighborhood meetings are:

  • Cornersburg: Thursday at 6 p.m. at New Covenant Worship Center, 1900 Canfield Road
  • Landsdowne/East Side: March 11 at 6 p.m. at Price Memorial AME Zion Church, 920 Dryden Ave.
  • Idora/Newport/Fosterville: March 13 at 6 p.m. at the Rescue Mission, 2246 Glenwood Ave.
  • Wick Park/North Side: March 17 at 6 p.m. at Unitarian Church, 1105 Elm St.
  • Brownlee Woods/Powerstown/Buckeye Plat: March 20 at 6:30 p.m. at Faith Community Covenant Church, 1919 E. Midlothian Blvd.
  • Lincoln Knolls/East Side: March 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the East Side Library, 430 Early Road
  • Oak Hill/South Side: March 27 at 6 p.m. at Oak Hill Collaborative, 507 Oak Hill Ave.

To see a copy of the report, click here.

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