University students present ideas for Youngstown development

Students from three universities created plans for development in Youngstown.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – In March, WKBN First News showed you the Vision Plan for Youngstown — a plan was to bring downtown into the 21st century.

On Thursday, students from three different universities created the final vision plan, which was unveiled to the community at Fellows Riverside Gardens.

Seeing Youngstown as a more inviting place — that was the idea of the plan created by students from Kent State, Ball State and Lawrence Technological universities.

“We challenged them to take students from campus to Covelli. To do so safely, entertain them, keep them active and keep a vibrant street,” said Mike Hripko, associate vice president for research at Youngstown State University.

Dominic Marchionda is YSU’s city university planning coordinator. He said having students from three states — Ohio, Indiana and Michigan — brings more perspective to the project.

“They bring their design ideas,” he said. “They are not in here inundated by the day-to-day that we all are, so they see new things that maybe we just drive by everyday.”

Project Manager Kristen Zeiber said the partnership with locals is also important.

“You guys have more of the insider knowledge and understand how to get things down in the city, and we don’t,” she said. “So it’s really about a partnership.”

Zeiber said the students created this plan in three days, and even the smallest change will make all the difference.

“Really, a well range of options from the very small scale from street furniture, some signage ideas, how to kind of give some face lifts to the buildings downtown,” she said.

One idea proposed was to create a slide on steps leading into the downtown. Marchionda said the ideas presented were pretty unique.

“It has been fun to see the community get behind it and then see an outside perspective of how can you do things differently, and how you can maybe phase things and the feasibility with existing resources and other resources to go after,” he said .

Marchionda said, as long as the momentum continues, some of the changes will be implemented in a year.

To see these plans, and other development projects in the works, go to

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