What does Youngstown look like on the ground?
That's what you all want to know, right? Or, at the very least, you
urban planners out there.
Youngstown is very much like Detroit. Yet it's
considerably smaller. The blight isn't noticeable in the heart of
downtown, but drive five miles in any direction and you'll find it.
There is a place, less than a mile from Youngstown State University,
called Smoky Hallow. There are considerably more tires on an 18-wheeler
than houses in this neighborhood. Go east and a little north to the
Eastside of Youngstown and it's pretty much just infrastructure where
houses should have been built, but never were. And, in most cases, those
built were burnt down.
Go west and south and you'll end up in
Youngstown's Westside, where images of Livonia will flash across your
Cross Mill Creek Park, going east again and you'll end up in
Youngstown's Southside. The Southside, home of former middleweight
boxing Champ Kelly Pavilk, is very much like Detroit's East Side. It's
vacant, blighted, poor, predominately black. Vacant city blocks are
dotted with houses, half of which are blighted.
North of that is
downtown. Downtown is vibrant, a place for a drink, a show, a bite to
eat. There isn't much living density, mostly banks and bars and
restaurants, but it doesn't stop people from coming down and enjoying
Youngstown's universal neighborhood.
this means is that Youngstown isn't just one blighted, empty community -- just like Detroit isn't just the Packard Plant or emptiness and blight.
To give you the whole picture (quite literally) here are three insights
into different parts of Youngstown.
Here's a ride through Youngstown's Westside and a talk with Youngstown resident, champion, and blogger John Slanina.