Youngstown to Consider $75K Contract with Economic Action Group

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Economic Action Group will expand planning and outreach services it offers to the city, pending approval of a $75,000 contract.

Under the contract, which City Council will consider at its meeting Wednesday, EAG will provide city and commercial corridor planning, economic development, outreach/engagement and marketing services to the city to support the core of the city’s economic development and community planning department.

Members of Council, who had discussed the proposal during a meeting of its community planning and economic development committee last month, moved without further discussion during a finance committee meeting Monday evening to take up the legislation Wednesday.

In April, the city hired EAG under a $25,000 contract to assist with its coronavirus response as well as corridor planning. The organization recorded 444 completed calls and logged nearly 1,200 outreach contacts with Youngstown businesses, primarily by phone, to identify business needs during the pandemic and help direct them to resources to assist them.

“This is a continuation of that,” said Nick Chretien, EAG program manager. The main difference is the inclusion of the marketing aspect in the new agreement, he said.

Coronavirus outreach efforts initially targeted the center of the city, followed by main corridors, neighborhoods that were primary industrial parks, secondary corridors and remaining neighborhoods in an order based on the number of businesses per neighborhood.

Working with the city, EAG hosted focus group meetings for bars and restaurants, a sector hit particularly hard by the pandemic-caused shutdowns, and targeted outreach to beauty parlors and barber shops.

“I know that they’ve worked with businesses in my ward to help them navigate” the pandemic’s challenges, said Fourth Ward Councilman Mike Ray. EAG’s work is “definitely a value and a benefit,” he added.

The stakeholder meetings EAG hosted are “helping shape the city’s strategy and programs that they offer,” Chretien said.

Under the new agreement, if approved, EAG would primarily consult with the community planning and economic development department but also work with other relevant projects that align with economic development, Chretien said.

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.