Common Wealth Eyes Expansion of Kitchen Incubator, Farmers Market

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The city’s planning commission recommended City Council approve zoning reclassification on three parcels on Park Avenue and seven lots on Baldwin Street on the city’s North Side to accommodate future expansion of a kitchen incubator and farmer’s market operated by Common Wealth Inc.

“They’ve been successful with the kitchen incubator and successful in transforming that whole area,” said Bill D’Avignon, who appeared on behalf of Common Wealth at a planning committee meeting on Tuesday.

D’Avignon said the kitchen incubator, located at the corner of Elm Street and Baldwin, has helped launch several new food-related startups and needs to expand. In order to do so, the lots need to be rezoned from multifamily residential to a mixed-use neighborhood classification.

Rezoning would also enhance the seasonal Northside Farmer’s Market that Common Wealth sponsors. “We’ve talked about a village concept,” that would house food vendors and make room for additional enterprises – possibly an ice cream shop or a microbrewery,” D’Avignon said.

He said the lots were originally zoned commercial, but were changed when the area was considered for new market-rate homes. That development never materialized, so the objective now is to rezone the property to allow for growth of the existing operations there.

Common Wealth, a nonprofit community development organization, operates Cultivate Café at the corner of Baldwin and Elm, and recently opened the Elm Street Diner across the street.

The Planning Commission also recommended that City Council approve a waiver for Jerome Franklin that would allow him to serve liquor at the Smoothie Bar on Central Square. The waiver is necessary because Franklin’s establishment on the ground floor of Realty Tower is within 500 feet of another regulated use venue.

Franklin, who also owns The Starting Lineup barbershop next door, opened the Smoothie Bar late last year. The business serves fruit smoothies, soups and wraps.

“We want to begin serving mixed drinks and daiquiris to customers after a long day at work,” he told the commission.

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