Economic Development

Downtown Partnership Welcomes Reopening of Wick

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Guests at Thursday night’s meeting of the Downtown Youngstown Partnership applauded today’s scheduled reopening of Wick Avenue as they prepared to launch a project to address downtown’s litter problem.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for 9 a.m. to mark the reopening of the downtown corridor, which has been closed in part or completely for more than a year to complete the upgrade.

The project, which cost more than $4 million, included resurfacing and recurbing the roadway, reconfiguring lanes, installing new lighting and moving utility lines below ground.

Ellie Platt, owner of Platt Insurance & Financial and a DYP co-founder, described the project as a “testament to the collaboration” of the various partners involved, including the city, Youngstown CityScape and Youngstown State University. “It really shows that when we come together we can accomplish amazing projects,” she said.

Among members attending last night’s meeting of the Downtown Youngstown Partnership are Denise Bayer, Sarra Mohn and Ellie Platt.

The two dozen downtown stakeholders and interested parties who attended Thursday’s meeting cheered brief remarks by Michael McGiffin, downtown events coordinator. Unable to attend the meeting because he had to go to Cleveland to pick up materials associated with this morning’s event, he addressed the meeting by phone and invited people to attend the ribbon-cutting.

“It looks great. It’s a phenomenal improvement,” said Phil Kidd, associate director of Youngstown CityScape.

The Downtown Youngstown Partnership operates as part of Youngstown CityScape. It was established last year to address downtown issues and to provide a voice and networking opportunity for stakeholders.

Kidd said he believes the template for the Wick Avenue project will be used by the city for other projects, including a planned upgrade to Fifth Avenue.

That echoed remarks earlier in the day by Chuck Shasho, the city’ deputy director of public works. Shasho called the Wick project the most comprehensive one the city had undertaken since the reopening of Federal Street in 2003.

“Our goal is to take that same model, same concept, and apply it to Fifth Avenue as our next project, and to a lesser extent Commerce Street,” Shasho said. Construction of that project is expected to begin in spring 2020, he said.

During the DYP meeting, Kidd showed a sample of the rectangular cigarette butt receptacles that will be mounted on poles throughout the central business district in the next week or so.

One of DYP’s goals is to focus on small, achievable projects downtown. While the trash problem is “a little overwhelming,” the group decided to focus on a specific type of trash, cigarette butts, Platt said.

When the receptacles are 80% full, they will be emptied and the contents sent to the company that supplies the receptacles and recycles the butts into plastic pallets that are then sold to support the program.

An initial 12 receptacles will be installed on Federal Street and Phelps Street, six sponsored by DYP and six by HD Davis CPAs Group, Liberty Township, Kidd reported. Sponsorships are available for $150 apiece.

“We want to demonstrate what this will look like and then reach back to other businesses downtown and ask if they are also interested in sponsoring,” he said.

Pictured at top: Wick Avenue on Thursday afternoon, the last day of its closure.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.