YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Those looking to draw new business and development to the Youngstown area, along with new residents, are hoping the latest “best of” list from Forbes Magazine will help get their message across to other parts of the country.
Word that the Youngstown area has once again made Forbes’ list of “Best Places To Raise A Family” may be news to some, but perhaps just to those who have only seen the magazine’s “Most Miserable” rankings.
“They just look at the bad things that happen around here, and all the crime and things like that,” Emily Smith of Berlin Center said. “But there really is, there’s good things that happen around here. There’s parks, there’s good education.”
“We’ve stayed in the area because we like the schools so much,” Becky Eaton of Canfield said. “They get a good education, the faculty is wonderful. We’re definitely going to stay in the area.”
Tom Humphries, the head of the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber, said that for the second year in a row, the Valley got high marks from Forbes, jumping one spot up to fourth in the “Best Places to Raise a Family” rankings. At the same time, the publication “Business Facilities” gave the area high marks for its cost of living and economic business potential.
“Anytime your ranking improves or moves up in the top ten, it is noticed,” Humphries said.
Columbiana-Mahoning Board of Realtors President Dan Dull agrees too, saying while many living here may take for granted the Valley’s low cost of living compared to other communities, being recognized nationally spreads the word.
“Anytime you’re trying to attract people, it’s about that message being heard,” Dull said. “Getting the people around the country to hear about it, that’s what’s important.”
The Forbes article does suggest the city of Youngstown continues to have problems with crime and failing schools, but Humphries said state and local officials are working to reverse that.
“That human capital is sitting there and if they’re in ‘D’ or ‘F’ schools, their likelihood of that whole population competing for jobs is reduced because of that performance,” Humphries said.
In the meantime, Dull said that as new residents move to the Valley for work, the message sinks in.
“The job creation gets them here, and then once they’re here, they’re actually able to see what this article is referencing and talking about,” Dull said.
Other times when Youngstown has made notable lists for good reasons:
- #1 in combination of healthcare access and home affordability, by Smart Asset (Aug. 2015)
- #1 in Exports Growth, by Business Facilities Magazine (Sept. 2014, according to Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber)
- #4 in best retirement spots for baby boomers by Lifegoesstrong.com (May 2013, according to Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber)
And for bad reasons: