YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Economic Action Group contributed more than 3,500 hours of service to 30 entrepreneurs and small businesses in 2023.
EAG’s work led to the stabilization and transfer of three properties to small businesses, as well as assistance in acquiring and stabilizing two additional properties.
“The past year was a blend of opportunities and challenges, each shaping us into a more robust and determined team. We step into 2024 aiming to build on our partnerships and progress,” Nick Chretien, executive director, says.
Highlights of 2023 included EAG’s commercial property revitalization program receiving the Excellence in Economic Development Award from the International Economic Development Council.
Last year, the program added a comprehensive corridor maintenance unit for neighborhood improvement, including a truck and trailer with landscaping tools, a lawnmower and necessary equipment for enhancing and maintaining neighborhoods.
“This initiative, providing job training to clients of Flying High Inc., facilitated the clearing of 5,700 linear feet of sidewalks and upkeep of nine properties,” Chretien says. “Overall, the CPR program has played a pivotal role in catalyzing over $1.8 million in investment, significantly contributing to the cleanup and improvement of 27,756 square feet of unoccupied commercial property in Youngstown.”
Staff additions last year included Nicole Marino as the new CPR project coordinator, and Marcelle Wilson as EAG’s development manager.
EAG also expanded its Student Service Learning initiative and the Civic Innovation Transforming Youngstown Program, which connects YSU interns with local businesses and community leaders.
“The interns collaborate with team members to develop creative solutions for community issues,” Chretien says. The program employed 12 interns in 2023 and plans to onboard 20 interns in 2024.