City draws up understanding with downtown businesses

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – From dinner to drinks, sitting outside on the patio in downtown Youngstown is a summertime thing. For Martini Brothers Burger Bar, that means keeping an eye on business inside and outside.

“We try to keep our storefront clean. A lot of people like sitting outside on the patio but they do smoke cigarettes,” Joe Martini said. “Big problem is we always see cigarettes in the parking lot and on the road so we always keep ashtrays, buckets and pails.”

The Board of Control and business owners met Thursday to discuss how everyone can come together to keep the downtown district safe and vibrant. Both sides agreed to a memorandum of understanding that lays out the city’s responsibilities for maintaining a safe, clean, vibrant business district while also listing how store and restaurant owners can do their own part.

“A lot of business owners recognize as well they have a responsibility to pitch in that effort,” said Youngstown Mayor John McNally. “That is keeping up their storefronts, sweeping their sidewalks and cleaning that up.”

The city also has a list of things it has to do too such as notifying businesses when streets are closing.

McNally said he would like to hire a downtown director in the future who would handle event planning and be a liaison between the business community and city leadership.

It wasn’t too long ago people didn’t want to come downtown, but Maggie Noday of Girard and Simone Hall of Youngstown said that is a thing of the past. Police patrols are frequent and the streets are safe.

“It has actually had a lot of good progress. I love it,” Hall said.

Martini Brothers says it has no problem chipping in to make sure downtown is clean. He sees the effort as good thing.

“If everyone can work together, it is just going to be better,” Martini said.

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