New Downtown Youngstown Partnership to Meet June 22
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Downtown Youngstown Partnership, a new organization aiming to unite downtown business owners and residents, will hold its inaugural meeting at 5 p.m. June 22 at Oh Wow! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology.
The partnership, organized in part by Youngstown CityScape, is open to residents, business owners and those who live and work downtown.
“We’ll talk about the issues that are relevant to downtown and let it serve as a networking opportunity for folks,” said CityScape associate director Phil Kidd. “Residents can get to know each other, businesses can talk about the things they do and we can all focus on various projects.”
The group intends to meet monthly to discuss issues downtown stakeholders face and community improvement projects. City officials, including First Ward councilman Julius Oliver and Michael McGiffin, the city’s director of downtown events and special projects, will also give updates on what’s happening in City Hall at the meetings, co-chairwoman Sarra Mohn, a partner at Jet Creative, said. There will also be a business spotlight segment.
Downtown Youngstown Partnership co-chairwoman Ellie Platt, owner of Platt Insurance Group, said that the group was formed after organizers talked to newcomers moving into downtown. A common theme, she said, is what could be done to improve the area.
“This is being driven by business owners who asked the question, ‘What can help our businesses grow? What changes can we make to downtown?’ We wanted to start in that place,” she said.
Kidd noted that the group isn’t looking to redo work done by organizations such as the Economic Action Group, which has been meeting monthly for more than two years, but to work with other associations. Over those two years, the action group has written a community action plan, conducting several rounds of surveys to develop it.
Work other groups have done — including those now defunct such as the Downtown Business Alliance of Youngstown, which began in 2013 – are the building blocks of the new partnership, Platt added.
“Past efforts are important. We’re building off the associations who have been around in the past,” she said. “The time is right for a group like this. It’s time to bring people together.”
In addition to CityScape, the partnership also has support of Mayor John A. McNally.
“This is a great effort to connect business owners downtown and our permanent residents. Hopefully it can give them an individual voice or a group voice on issues that affect them all,” he said
First Ward Councilman Julius Oliver also voiced support for the partnership as he noted the existence of similar organizations.
Pictured: Youngstown CityScape associate director Phil Kidd and partnership co-chairwomen Sarra Mohn and Ellie Platt.
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