By Jordan Unger
Business owners and representatives met at The Federal on March 28 for the Downtown Youngstown Partnership meeting to discuss upcoming events and projects in the city.
DYP began holding events last July, when the group emphasized the need for businesses to network. Ellie Platt, co-chair of the DYP advisory team, said the group strives for continued growth of economic development in the area.
“Our goal is to create a voice for businesses in Downtown Youngstown,” Platt said. “We do it just from coming together… By meeting and coming together and just talking, good stuff is happening.”
DYP recognized The Federal as its business spotlight for the evening. Dan Martini, co-owner of the Federal, said there are plans for summer events and opening of the bar’s basement and third floor is in the works. He said the business from this year’s St. Patrick’s Day is a good indication for the bar’s continued success.
“This year we doubled revenue from last year and last year’s revenue was a double from the year before,” Martini said. “Next year we’re going to hope to double that again.”
Martini thanked all participants in Shamrock on the Block, which all proceeds went to DYP. The Federal was awarded $1,200 at the meeting for contributions made to the organization.
Mike McGiffin, downtown events coordinator for Youngstown, addressed events to take place downtown in the upcoming months. He said downtown is the place to be on summer evenings.
“We are the only walkable entertainment district within a 35 mile radius,” McGiffin said. “Within Youngstown we have 13 bars and restaurants, all created about 11 years ago when the city decided… to rebrand Youngstown as an entertainment district.”
Upcoming April events include Value of the Divas at Powers Auditorium and Advancing Education and Reducing Crime at four elementary schools, the Youngstown Flea season opening and Federal Frenzy, which will be headlined by Judah and the Lion. All of these events will take place on April 22.
In the summer, McGiffin said the community can look out for the JD Songfest, the launch of the City of You webpage, a comic con and a big name yet to be announced coming to the Covelli Centre.
“It’s those weekends where Youngstown really comes alive,” McGiffin said.
Upcoming projects include a partnership with YSUscape to clean up “Cedars Alley,” improvements to signage in the city and the ongoing Wick Avenue construction.
Volunteer projects were recognized as well, including post-winter trash cleanup and a self-guided walking tour of Youngstown. Phil Kidd, associate director of Youngstown CityScape, said the projects has raisded $7000 to have five kiosks placed around Youngstown.
“We will have kiosks that will have photos of different areas of downtown in the 360 [degree] format,” Kidd said. “We’re going to put one in Central Square near the solders’ monument that will talk about the history of each one of the buildings and the history of Central Square in general.”
Kidd said a QR code will be located at the bottom of the kiosk so visitors can hear about future plans in Youngstown through their phones.
Business representatives in attendance were encouraged to write their contact information on sheets of paper to be posted outside of the meeting. Sarra Mohn, co-chair of the DYP advisory team, said the activity could help businesses make connections with each other to make a different in the community.
“There’s a small group of us here tonight compared to the population [in Youngstown],” Mohn said. “We’re here in this room, and I believe that means that everybody came here with intentions to help other people… What if all of the people who helped everyone else actually got together and helped each other?”
The next DYP meeting will be held the last week of May.