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422 Plan Has Good Start - Tribune Chronicle

As the Route 422 corridor redevelopment plan gets fine-tuned, those leading the charge should consider sustainability and include Vibrant Northeast Ohio in the process.

Philadelphia-based Interface Studio recently held the public meeting after spending the past seven months identifying the best potential steps to improve the 3,500-acre corridor along the Mahoning River from Girard into Youngstown. The study found at least 18 feasible measures that, if implemented, could result in the corridor being a draw for outside businesses and a source of pride for the community.

Those in attendance then ranked their respective top three improvement projects. They range from eradicating clutter to building sidewalks, gateways and industrial buffers.

Interface will report back with results and strategies.

Hopefully, when it does, it will consider the findings from the Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium, which is spearheading the Vibrant NEO 2040: Vision & Framework for Our Future. Vibrant NEO is expected to ''enable the public, agencies and Northeast Ohio communities to inform, prioritize, align and coordinate actions to advance sustainability in their areas of impact and interest.''

That describes the Route 422 corridor.

What the consortium has already ascertained is that at our current pace, northeast Ohio will construct 3,700 miles of new roads without any significant population increase or tax base growth. The additional cost to maintain this infrastructure will run in the millions of dollars per county across the region. While we struggle to maintain existing infrastructure, population, business districts and industries are developing green space that burdens taxpayers with more to maintain.

There are many good ideas on the table for the Route 422 corridor, ideas that focus on cleansing and maintaining what already exists. That might be a better strategy than building anything new.

Those involved in the Route 422 corridor project are already engaged in the healthy practice of collaboration, as noted by Trumbull County Commissioner Frank Fuda.

''Our governor right now is looking for regionalization and a lot of the money the state is willing to spend is for people working together,'' Fuda said during the Route 422 corridor public hearing. ''That's what Trumbull and Mahoning counties are doing here.''

Indeed, that raises the expectation of success. For what has taken place so far, those spearheading the Route 422 corridor project deserve recognition. They include:

Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation;

Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber;

Trumbull County Planning Commission;

Raymond Wean Foundation;

Community Foundation of Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio;

Youngstown Foundation;

The cities of Youngstown and Girard;

Western Reserve Port Authority;

Youngstown and Trumbull County metropolitan housing authorities;

Girard Community Improvement Corp.;

Trumbull commissioners;

Vallourec Star.

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