Why not Youngstown? That was the general theme of Mayor Tito Brown’s State of the City speech on Thursday. He touched on some of the problems facing Youngstown but also used the event to promote the city’s accomplishments.
Brown walked onto the stage at the Ford Family Recital Hall in the DeYor Performing Arts Center downtown to a standing ovation.
“I want to ask the question — ‘Why not Youngstown?'”
Brown explained how cuts were made to balance the city budget and how, last year, the police department responded to 69,000 calls and the fire department to 4,100 emergencies.
His pet peeve? Street lights. He wants them on throughout Youngstown.
“We have remained committed to upgrading to LED lights through our partnership with Ohio Edison,” Brown said.
He said he’s started a conversation with Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost to stop the dumping of tires.
Brown also wants to dress up the main entrances into the city.
“You only get one shot at a first impression and we must make the great first impression for those who are traveling into our city,” he said.
When the speech was over, the mayor took questions.
As far as plans to bring sustainable economic development, Brown said the city’s political climate has to be inviting.
“A toxic political environment…it won’t be inviting.”
The status of the Chill Can plant?
“He’s working on how much ampage he can get from Ohio Edison. So I talked about my partnership with Ohio Edison and I told him about it. He says, ‘Well mayor, can you sit down and help me?'”
Brown also had an interesting observation about the fact that babies are no longer delivered in Youngstown.
“For me, that sounds unhealthy and maybe some medical folks tell me, ‘Well, that’s not really the case, the issue.’ But the appearance, the issue of access to health care is big for me,” he said.
Fourth Ward Councilman Mike Ray said Brown made a lot of good points.
“Youngstown is a great place to do business and we do have some things we need to work on.”
Seventh Ward Councilwoman Basia Adamczak wanted more.
“We heard a lot of feel-good stories and successes. I was hoping to hear about more concrete plans on how we are planning to combat the issues the city is facing, specifically financial constraints,” she said.