Mayor Jamael Tito Brown delivered his first State of the City address since 2019 before a large crowd at the DeYor Performing Arts Center downtown, emphasizing his administration’s recent accomplishments and goals for the future.
“I’m proud of where we are; we have a lot more work to do,” Brown said after his speech.
In an address lasting 45 minutes at the DeYor’s Ford Family Recital Hall, the mayor checked off a number of initiatives that he said helps build a foundation for the city to move forward.
Among these are the continued construction on downtown thoroughfares, which is slated for completion next year; new housing programs; investments in new machinery and equipment; demolition efforts to clear blight; new youth and senior programs; law enforcement efforts; additional private business investment; and other programs the city has rolled out to encourage small business and job growth.
He lauded the decision of Steelite to locate its international headquarters downtown, as well as creating incentives to encourage expansions at manufacturers such as Trivium Packaging on Poland Avenue.
Brown also touched on the ongoing construction project downtown, a $20 million investment that will overhaul the aesthetics on Front, Federal and Commerce streets in the central business district.
“This project is about 80% complete,” he said, and is on track to be finished within the next 12 months. By early next year, the city is expected to formulate plans for the next downtown rehab effort on Boardman and Walnut streets. “We’re going to keep moving,” he said.
As for blight removal in the neighborhoods, Brown touted a $6.8 million brownfield grant the city secured with its partners the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation and the Mahoning County Land Bank to raze vacant, dilapidated houses. Since 2016, the city has demolished 2,090 homes, he said, and estimated there are another 680 left to go.
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