YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The downtown festival season is well underway in Youngstown.
When Lindsay Hawkins left Youngstown 15 years ago, it was a very different place.
“There was like one restaurant that we could walk to for lunch and one place to get coffee and it’s awesome. It’s awesome to see so many people downtown. It’s totally different and every time we come, it’s a little bit bigger and there’s a few more people,” she said.
Thousands of people were expected downtown on Saturday. Youngstown Pride Festival started at noon on Phelps Street, and Lionel Richie is taking the stage at the Covelli Centre at night.
The concerts and festivals mean more people are spending more time and money downtown. Christian Rhinehart’s businesses have reaped the benefits.
“It’s really a great movement. Even with things closing like Lordstown, all the old doom and gloom, it started changing its image. I think the younger generation is starting to see that downtowns are more viable again, and we’re moving everywhere back to downtowns,” Rhinehart said.
Ten years ago, Anita Davis watched as efforts began to grow downtown. Now, she sees the results from her seat on council.
“As a lifelong resident of Youngstown, I am just pleased to see the resurgence and I hope to see the resurgence on all sides of town. The door is open to downtown Youngstown. I say this, “Welcome to downtown Youngstown and Happy Pride,” Davis said.