Downtown residents consider forming council

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — In recent years, downtown Youngstown has started seeing an increase in number of residents and businesses.

But that wasn’t always the case, and Kelly Chaffee has heard the negative comments before.

“I would hear ‘Downtown? Why would you want to live down there? There’s nothing down there.’ But, there’s definitely a ton going on, there’s always something going on,” Chaffee said.

She is one of many who are picking up and moving to downtown Youngstown. That area, like other parts of the city, experienced many uphill battles after businesses left the area decades ago.

But, now people living there said there’s a new feeling in the downtown district.

“It’s amazing how the downtown Youngstown area is thriving. It’s not showing any signs of slowing down. So we need to go ahead and start organizing,” said Ben White, who also lives downtown.

White is one of a small group of people who is in the process of starting a new downtown council.

“As a group, we would like to see the businesses, new properties, existing customers, to continue to grow. It’s a great foundation for us to have a brand new start to Youngstown.

Not including Youngstown State University, it’s estimated a few hundred people live in what is considered downtown. But that number is expected to grow as construction on new apartments is completed.

“It’s definitely growing. You can see that. It’s great to see there are more opportunities for people to live and work,” Chaffee said.

White said most downtowns across the country have about 10 percent of the population living there. For Youngstown, that would roughly be 6,000 to 7,000 people, which is a milestone the group hopes the city eventually will reach.

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