Amphitheater project could turn site into ‘Youngstown’s Central Park’

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Downtown Youngstown could see its biggest transformation since large office towers were built in the early 1900s.

Thursday evening, Youngstown City Council heard about plans to develop an old industrial property along the Mahoning River into an entertainment and park area.

Brian Kinzelman of MKSK landscape architects in Columbus gave a 30-minute presentation, showing the scope of the project and how it includes the area along the Mahoning River and beyond.

Complete amphitheater/park proposal (PDF)

He called it a spectacular opportunity to take an old industrial site and “turn it into what may very well become Youngstown’s Central Park.”

The city has money to complete the project, and there’s no reason to believe council won’t be in favor.

The main piece of the whole project, the amphitheater, will be built at the intersection of Front and Phelps streets.

Phase one of the project will also include a walkway connecting the amphitheater with the Covelli Centre, all surrounded with a park-like setting complete with grass, trees and a fountain.

The road area under the Market Street bridge will be cleaned up and used. Phelps Street, from Front to Commerce streets, will also be developed into an entertainment district with new lighting, retail space and restaurants.

“The community is much more receptive toward giving money and participating in this project than they were when we looked at doing the convocation center,” said Finance Director Dave Bozanich.

After the first phase, the plan is for the city to control the land along Front Street, where it abuts the park and amphitheater, and turn Hazel Street into a second road for entertainment.

“Listening to folks out in the community, they’re interested to hear about this. They want to support it, they want to support downtown Youngstown. It is going to be transformational when it’s finished,” Mayor John McNally said.

All of it should be done by the end of next year at a cost of about $6 million, with $3 million to $4 million coming from naming rights.