YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – It has been over two years now since the work began to replace virtually all the streets in downtown Youngstown. The work is now moving onto West Federal Street, and downtown business owners are concerned about the months ahead.
Wednesday afternoon inside V2, downtown Youngstown business owners met to discuss what to do with another summer of road construction all around them.
“They go on TV and talk about how we’re working with the businesses and the detours are posted. Nobody’s ever come. How can we help you? Nobody’s ever worked with the businesses now here,” said Joey Mamounis, manager of Avalon Pizza.
A major concern is parking. A row of spots on Federal Street is gone since the construction started at 20 Federal Place. The business owners suggested allowing parking behind the Voinovich Government Center.
Jeff Kurz owns the bars Ryes and Imbibe. He’s also a lawyer with offices downtown.
“My law office is on Commerce and Phelps. I haven’t been able to park there in two and a half years. If this takes that long, it’s devastating to the business. If it gets done within like six months, which is a reasonable time frame, then we might be able to weather the storm,” Kurz said.
Vernon Cesta owns V2. He knows he’ll lose customers during the construction and wants the city to have a remarketing plan for when it’s all done.
“If you’re losing people right now, how are you going to bring people back? So they have to figure out a way to, hey, you know, this is downtown again. We’ve got everything beautified or whatever is, let’s get people back downtown,” Cesta said.
Also mentioned at Wednesday’s meeting was the possibility of getting grants from Ohio’s Small Business Administration that would help during construction. They’re looking to the city administration for help in getting those grants.