It became possible for the U.S. Route 422 Redevelopment Plan to take shape with collaboration across county lines between public and private entities.
The plan is to improve the corridor from Youngstown to Girard as the region’s gateway to jobs by making it aesthetically pleasing, to unlock the potential of land for job growth, to support and market local businesses, stabilize residential areas and activate natural assets.
This was the message heard at the unveiling of the corridor plan that the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, Youngs-town Neighborhood Development Corp. and Trumbull County commissioners worked on for nearly a year with Interface Studio LLC of Philadelphia.
“I think we have a pretty good shot at having a significant impact on the area, and I think maybe some of the goals and priorities will change as the area changes,” said John Rossi, project facilitator. “If you drive up and down, you can see the improvements that have already been made.”
Some of those improvements include litter pickup, demolition and street resurfacing.
From 2010 to 2012, Lien Forward, which has since switched to the Mahoning County Land Bank, went into the area to remove garbage and knock down abandoned, dilapidated houses after V&M, now known as Vallourec Star, wanted to have the area cleaned up and supported some of the demolition.
“We wanted to see things that were a little more eye-pleasing instead of overgrown and under-loved, and we had safety concerns,” said Deb Flora, executive director of the land bank.
Additionally, trees and flowers were planted and islands were created.
“We also coordinated litter collections. We were doing two to three litter collections a year,” Flora said. “It was meant to change people’s perspectives.”
The new master plan allows for large and small opportunities including developing pockets for industry along the corridor. The plan also gives the project a vision to help earn some grant money along the way to fund projects.
“The next step is implementation and funding,” Rossi said.
Area officials were at the announcement Friday and offered their thanks to the partners on the project to make the plan happen.
“I thought we were thinking out of the box,” said James Melfi, mayor of Girard. “We recall how this corridor [once looked]. We were taking someone else’s perspective and now I am lucky enough to see the good of the area.”
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