Sharon Surveys Downtown Stakeholders on Revitalization

SHARON, Pa. — City officials are surveying Sharon business owners and stakeholders to gather their input on downtown’s revitalization.

The surveys will go out via email in the next few days, City Manager Bob Fiscus said in a news release announcing the survey. A link to the survey can be found HERE.

“We value the input of our downtown businesses,” Fiscus said. The survey includes questions about the kinds of businesses and recreation they believe would be a good collaborative fit with the businesses already there, and would attract more visitors, create more jobs and provide more services to the downtown.

A portion of the some $14 million in American Rescue Plan funds allocated to the city last year has been set aside to help attract new restaurants and retail businesses into Sharon, as well as strategic expansions of current businesses that would also help with attraction and revitalization.

“Working with our business community to support ideas for expansion is another avenue that could positively impact the downtown,” said Sherris Moreira, who became the city’s director of downtown development in March, along with Courtney Cilli, downtown events coordinator.

Some of the survey results will be revealed at the Sharon Summer Downtown Events Showcase, which will take place at 5:30 p.m. May 10 at Haitian Sensation. This event is for Sharon business owners and interested stakeholders to learn about upcoming events, share their own and discuss ways to get the most out of them for their businesses.

“We’re hopeful we’ll get some helpful input from the survey to aid us in our research and planning,” Moreira said. 

The downtown development team’s research also includes visits to similar rustbelt communities that have had successful revitalizations of their downtowns and main street areas.

“We are visiting revitalized areas and meeting with leaders in cities and towns that have done or are doing revitalization projects within a one to three-hour drive of Sharon,” Moreira said.

Towns visited or on the schedule include Franklin, Meadville, Erie, Beaver, Slippery Rock, Ellwood City and Zelienople in Pennsylvania, and Columbiana, Wadsworth and Salem in Ohio, among others.

“It’s going to take thinking outside the box to take our downtown community to the next level,” Fiscus said.

“It makes sense to visit communities with similar challenges such as loss of major industry and brain drain and review the solutions they came up with that would make sense for the Sharon community,” Moreira said. “Plus, we are building relationships with these communities and their leadership for future advisory connections.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.