YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A crowd of people walking up and down Midlothian Boulevard isn’t a typical site to see on a Sunday afternoon. This Sunday, the street looked a little different, with outdoor cafes, art galleries and some fresh landscaping.
The idea of Midlothian Boulevard Better Block is to create a vision of what the busy Youngstown City road could look like with few a changes to attract more people to the area.
Several businesses took part in the effort and some even offered freebies for neighbors, from coffee to apples and pierogies.
Nancy Martin, one of the Midlothian Better Block organizers, is involved in her community. She’s the president of Brownlee Woods Neighborhood Association and wants to see her neighborhood become vibrant like it used to be.
“We’ve accomplished having people out walking, making it look like a return back to the walking neighborhood,” she said.
Helen Donofrio is one of those people, checking out the stands and enjoying company with others.
“I lived here for 30 years…and I think they’ve come a long way,” Donofrio said.
Nicholas Bates moved to Youngstown three years ago with his wife. The couple participated in today’s event to spread the word about their Bible fellowship.
“Youngstown was a great place to go and do that because of the fact that it has that drive,” he said. “That heart to want to move forward.”
Bates says he’s already seen the changes in Youngstown since he moved to the city, especially downtown.
“Watching that move forward and seeing it become…the next Silicon Valley,” he said. “The sky’s the limit when the individual feels empowered.”
Martin wants the city to keep growing, but thinks there’s a different philosophy for Youngstown.
“Youngstown needs to start thinking more of a small town, or a group of small towns, rather than a big city because the mentality isn’t there anymore,” Martin said.
Everyone at Midlothian Better Block wants to see more revitalization in Youngstown and events like this help start a conversation, showing what could be.