Outdoor alcohol law passes; Downtown Youngstown prepares

Downtown Youngstown, Ohio skyline

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Outdoor entertainment districts with public alcohol could hit the streets of downtown Youngstown this summer, after Governor John Kasich signed a law allowing them on Thursday.

City Planners are trying to figure out how to handle the extra crowds the law could bring. The new law means downtown Youngstown could become the new summer party destination.

“We’re cautiously optimistic about this. There are a lot of benefits,” Youngstown events coordinator Michael McGiffin said. “There are a lot of answers that still need solutions.”

Youngstown already has experience with outdoor events that include alcohol. The recent Federal Frenzy saw more than 3,000 people downtown, with outdoor alcohol sales.

“We have a good base for it and good experience with it already through various events as they come up,” Youngstown Police Captain Jason Simon said.

The city needs to deal with the trash problem that all those extra people will bring. Plus, the area is already growing, as there aren’t many empty storefronts in the downtown district and construction is underway on two apartment buildings and a hotel.

“With a higher volume of trash, we have to prepare for that now, we can’t do it when that law would pass,” Phil Kidd of Youngstown Streetscape said. “I think for sure you’re going to see a higher volume of trash and bottles, things like that. Because we already see that now.”

Kidd goes through downtown every weekend and collects litter. Streetscape is working with other organizations to study the public trash problem in the city. They’re trying to work out a plan – before it gets worse.

“There’s lots of places where we don’t have cans, and there is a lot of growth coming in the downtown area,” Kidd said.

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