Businesses invest in Youngstown by developing along South Ave.

The South Avenue Area Neighborhood Development Initiative works on cleaning up the corridor, but now it wants to bring more businesses to the area

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – New businesses have been moving into the South Avenue corridor in Youngstown over the past few months, and people are encouraging more businesses to settle there.

Twelve years ago, Pastor Al Yanno first moved his church, Metro Assembly of God, to South Avenue. He says the corridor was in bad shape then.

“With a lot of violent crime taking place, people didn’t want to have their businesses here. Businesses were moving out, whereas this year, I think we’ve had five new businesses move in,” Yanno said. “It’s exciting to see people talk positive and talk vision about South Avenue instead of talking all the negativity.”

Maitenance Man opened up shop about two months ago in a building that had been vacant for ten years. Now, business is booming.

“Since we’ve been here, the people have been really terrific towards us. They’ve been very welcoming. We’ve been getting a lot of praises for…how everybody’s glad that we’re here,” said owner George Stamos.

He hopes that this trend of development along the corridor continues.

“Hopefully, you know, it keeps picking up from here and more people feel more comfortable about bringing more business in here,” Stamos said.

The South Avenue Area Neighborhood Development Initiative (SAANDI) has played a major role in cleaning up the corridor. Yanno, SAANDI’s chairman, is now forming a South Avenue Business Initiative. He says the response it’s getting is positive.

“Our first meeting, we had some 20 business people come together and some neighborhood people.”

One of the organizations involved is the Ursuline Center, which has had a property on South Avenue for 17 years. Now it’s looking to increase its presence.

In February, the property will help house underserved people.

“It’ll be four units and so it will be single-story,” said Brigid Kennedy, financial director at Ursuline Center. “It’s going to be a beautiful building that will really anchor this section of South Avenue.”

Kennedy says that an investment on South Avenue is really an investment in the community.

“When we sink in hundreds of thousands of dollars on a very short period of space and it looks beautiful when you drive by, it brings everybody’s spirits up.”

For more information about the Ursuline Center’s programs, visit its website.

On SAANDI’s Facebook page, there is more information about the work the organization is doing along South Avenue.