YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A community meeting was held on the East Side of Youngstown on Thursday in an effort to help address needs in the community.

The meeting was a part of the new health improvement zones happening on each side of town. 

“Each side of town in Youngstown has specific needs, this just happens to be our East Side. So our meetings have been focused around what the residents want to see change in their communities,” said Andrea Bivens, community health advocate supervisor with the Youngstown City Health District.

Bivens pointed out some specific needs that residents on the East Side are facing such as grocery stores, public transportation, sidewalks and more.

“We’re in the process of collecting information so that we can get a plan of action together and try to get something together to kind of bring the neighborhoods together,” Bivens said.

Several speakers at the meeting talked about their own experiences from their childhoods and why having community organizations and resources are important. They also touched on the potential and the hope they have for the East Side.

“I grew up to where I was working at K&P in high school, there’s no more K&P. There’s no more jobs for us to work out here, just a lot of space and a lot of opportunities… We need everybody in this room,” said Marques Jones.

About two dozen people were at the meeting, some asking questions and giving comments on what they feel can contribute to a healthy community. The topics of education and more attention on the youth were both touched on.

The Youngstown City Health District is one of 26 projects across Ohio to receive funding for these improvement zones.

Meetings for the East Side Improvement Zone will be held on the first Thursday of every month from 3-5 p.m. at the Price Memorial AME Zion Church on Dryden Avenue.

Health advocates for each side of town include Price Memorial AME Zion Church (East Side), Ohev Beth Sholom (North Side), Needles Eye (South Side) and Grace Evangelistic Temple (West Side).