Good Morning, Youngstown Touts Good Days Ahead for City

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – With cooperation and determination, those speaking at the Good Morning, Youngstown! event Thursday believe some good things are coming to the city.

Mayor Jamael Tito Brown and Youngstown City Schools Superintendent Justin Jennings both offered updates about the focus for this year in the city during the event at Stambaugh Auditorium.

Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber CEO Guy Coviello brought up several funding opportunities of which he believes the Mahoning Valley is poised to take advantage.

“We’re on a nice ascent in terms of growing the whole Valley’s economy,” Coviello said. “And the partnership that we have with the Brown administration, I think, has really put that sort of on steroids for the city.”

For instance, Coviello spoke about the governor’s proposal for $2.5 billion for the All Ohio Future Fund, which is designed to create sites for commercial and industrial development. Those projects need to be shovel-ready, and Coviello believes the city is already preparing for that through the Equity Based Site Readiness Program. That partnership has joined the chamber and city in identifying sites and putting together a specific action plan about what is needed for each site.

Brown emphasized not only the importance of working together as a team for the betterment of Youngstown, but also the importance of businesses having a plan when they choose to invest here.

During the city’s first Business Solutions Summit on Wednesday, Brown spoke about how partnerships need to be in place and the research completed to navigate the requirements and obtain funding. Brown is emphasizing going beyond just asking for funding from the city, instead looking at opportunities at the regional, state and federal levels.

Brown said developers for affordable housing options too often do not have enough of their own funding. He believes it is important for those companies to put “skin in the game” before the city can help them fund the project.

Looking at long-term projects has never been easy for those working within the confines of a political term in office. Coviello points out getting a site ready can take more time than a typical cycle, but in the chamber’s partnership with Brown’s administration, they are making the effort to look farther down the road.

Another state funding investment Coviello hopes the area will be able to tap is a $150 million pot of money in the governor’s new budget, which is slated for innovation hubs. Coviello believes through the partnership with America Makes, the Youngstown area could be eligible for some of that money as well.

Already the hub of additive manufacturing, Coviello said this money will make it possible to expand upon that and attract companies that want to be located close to that hub.

When it comes to attracting companies for the innovation hub, Coviello said a lot of companies across the country are interested in seeing it come to Youngstown, including federal defense contractors.

Brown said he also wants children to be ready for the technologies that will be here and making sure workforce development is preparing students for those jobs of the future.

Coviello said there is also $1.6 trillion in federal programs, including through the CHIPS Act and the Infrastructure Act, money he believes the Mahoning Valley could also take advantage of to bring development, projects and jobs here.

Brown said it is important that no matter where residents of Youngstown come from, how they may come from different ethnic groups or have other diversities, it is important to work together to bring things to the city.

Brown said he also would like to focus on the people of the community, including mental health concerns. He said they are working to put together information on social service resources, which people can access when they have a need. Brown said whether someone is facing suicide, overdose, gun violence or homelessness, they should receive the proper services.

“Some people may check one box or two boxes, but they don’t check all the boxes,” Brown said, citing as an example a family that loses a home in a fire and has nowhere to go because they do not meet guidelines for assistance. “That bothers me as the mayor of Youngstown.”

During Thursday’s event, two local companies currently expanding gave updates to their efforts. Trivium Packaging is expanding its manufacturing facility and creating jobs, and Akron Children’s Hospital is opening a new emergency room facility in Boardman, bringing additional medical jobs.

Pictured at top: Youngstown Mayor Jamael Tito Brown speaks during the Good Morning, Youngstown! event Thursday.

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