Youngstown Proud...Youngstown Good
Updated: Jul 1, 2019
Between the Vindicator and the news about St. Anthony’s finally closing its church, it has not been a good couple of days for the Valley. Add this to the final death gasps of General Motors in Lordstown, it almost seems hopeless. Sadness and concern are reflected across many of the locally oriented Facebook pages. It is hard watching institutions we grew up with die. But if there is a constant in life, it is change. And what we are seeing is change. Not good or bad…just change.
The other day I was having lunch downtown at Bistro 1907 sitting on the patio. I looked around at our city and I thought…we have come a long way. The days of being an industrial boom town are long gone. But what developed in its place is actually pretty good. Our downtown looks terrific. We are finally beginning to take advantage of the strong arts community in our area. We are now being identified as a dynamic university town. We are hosting a bevy of definitely B+ grade entertainers coming here on a regular basis. Some are actually asking to put us on the tour. We are becoming a “destination.”
Our economic base is widely diversified…which is why when GM closed it made good press…but had only a negligible effect. Most people just kept right on going. We have untold numbers of small and light manufacturing business who export lots of stuff. We have a developing technology sector…and I can tell you it will be growing in remarkable ways. We have one of the best business incubators in the world. America Makes is an amazing asset to the area.
Our population is down. But we have adjusted to the shrinking population in the Youngstown-Warren-Boardman Metropolitan Area. Youngstown City has done a good job of cleaning up the vacant houses. Parts of Youngstown actually look rural. Housing prices are rising as the construction industry, which by nature is boom/bust, reached economic equilibrium in supply and demand. Our retail choices have shrunk with the exit of Sears and Dillards. But we all get in our cars and drive Ross Park Mall or Beachwood…less than an hour away.
The Vindicator…and even St. Anthony’s...are part of the final act of 19th/20th century industrial Youngstown. Anyone who paid attention to what was happening with the newspaper industry would look at the Vindicator trying to figure out how it managed to remain independent. Now we know…management saw the handwriting on the wall many years ago but chose to keep it going. Now…it is the last dinosaur to fall from the steel industry era…one of the last of the area's operating entities directly tied our historical industrial past to close its doors.
In life, there is no such thing as a vacuum. The Vindicator will be replaced with something more in tune with today’s economic realities. There is still a huge demand for its services. Whoever fills that demand will do it more economically and with a modern approach. Whether it is an existing paper like the Warren Tribune who picks up the mantle, or something entirely different and unexpected, everything is fine.
We live in a great place. The Mahoning Valley is a good place call home. Notwithstanding the Vindicator, things are better in the Valley today than they have been in many, many years. This, too, shall pass…quickly!!!
Mark G. Mangie