YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – People interested in the workings of the Youngstown city government filled the main gallery of the McDonough Museum of Art on Wednesday evening .
What they heard was a detailed explanation of how the city works from the people working for the city. The evening, however, started with a birthday.
Youngstown Mayor John McNally was among the first speakers at the town hall meeting. He told the crowd it was his birthday, and song and balloons followed. A cake was even brought out, with the mayor blowing out the candles with one breath.
Then, over the next hour and 10 minutes, came a succession of city hall department heads and others with interest in the city. There were nine speakers total, including Economic Development, the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation, Code Enforcement and Demolition, Green Youngstown, the police chief and AmeriCorps VISTA.
Guy Burney, of the Community Initiative to Reduce Violence, talked about a meeting last week with 18 gang members.
“Unfortunately there was a chair empty, and that chair was a young man who had just been released from jail 36 hours prior to committing a murder,” he told the audience.
Questions were then collected from the audience and read aloud.
People questioned whether more businesses would be brought to town and who is holding outside landlords accountable for upkeep on their property.
The city says it has been working on a proposal for riverfront development and that fining mechanisms are in place for absent landlords.