Journal Opinion: Off to a Positive Start

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Welcome to Growth Report 1: the Economic and Community Development Edition. For the second consecutive year, we at The Business Journal are splitting our annual Growth Report into two editions, which gives readers more time to submit their growth reports and us more pages to publish their stories.

Growth Report 1, which you are holding in your hands or reading online, focuses on the work being accomplished in the Mahoning and Shenango valleys by government entities, development and social services organizations, educational institutions and community groups. In these pages, a common theme emerges: collaboration, innovation and a commitment to quality of life.

Our cover story takes readers to Warren where a long-abandoned hospital, now a pile of rubble, is giving way to fresh redevelopment ideas conceived by young people. City and business leaders are wisely paying attention to how these future architects envision a city they would be happy to call home.

A variation of this story in Warren is playing out in the city of Columbiana. Fifteen high school students there are taking an elective class called creative entrepreneurship. They’re studying their city and recommending how to improve its aesthetics. Business and city leaders like their ideas as well as the venue to instill hometown pride in future leaders.

Collaboration is essential to redevelopment. Consider the work being accomplished by the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber to launch the Mahoning Valley Logistics Council and the Regional Workforce Coalition. Never has there been such widespread recognition that we must address our challenges and opportunities collectively.

As you read these pages, you’ll learn how the city of Youngstown, the Western Reserve Port Authority and the Economic Action Group are working together to redevelop properties along the Mahoning Avenue corridor.

Repurposing blighted and vacant properties is a major focus of the port authority, which has agreements with Warren and Youngstown to transform such properties into productive use. This includes the former BDM Steel property in Trumbull County, one of the largest available brownfield sites in Ohio, and the former McGuffey Mall site on Youngstown’s East Side.

Many development and workforce partnerships are highlighted in these pages. One story tells how the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics and the Mahoning & Columbiana Training Association are collaborating to fill demand for aviation mechanics. Another tells how the Educational Service Center of Eastern Ohio, the Builders Association and the Ohio Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship and Training Program are working together to boost employment in the building trades. 

We trust you’ll enjoy reading this edition’s growth reports. Coming Feb. 14 is Growth Report 2: Business and Industry edition. 2023 is off to a positive start.