Mayoral candidates talk business growth and retention in Youngstown

The 90-minute forum Tuesday focused on business development and retention in the city of Youngstown

HIGH - YOUNGSTOWN Youngstown leads the area in population, violent crimes and murders – 474 violent crimes in 2015, 19 murders and nearly 3,000 property crimes. The crime rate in the city has slowly been coming down, however – 53 homicides were reported in 1992 – but in one statistical area, the city leads the state – arsons.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Candidates for Youngstown mayor laid out their economic plans for the city Tuesday during the Government Affairs Council Mayoral Forum hosted by the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber.

Job growth and expansion are the goals of businesses in Youngstown and at the center of the forum. The timing of the event falls on the 40th anniversary of Black Monday – the end of major steel manufacturing and its domination of the Youngstown economy.

Barb Ewing, with the Youngstown Business Incubator, said the city has taken lessons learned from that era to develop new opportunities.

“If there is one lesson that I think we should learn from Black Monday, it’s that you can’t put all of your eggs in one basket. We have to continue to diversify our economy, bring new technology types of businesses in, also support our existing business,” Ewing said.

Since Black Monday, the landscape of job growth in Youngstown has shifted tremendously – steel forging has been replaced by high-tech and service industries, with a push to put Youngstown at the center of new technologies with programs such as the partnership with the downtown area and Youngstown State University.

The 90-minute forum Tuesday focused strictly on those programs and business development and retention in the city of Youngstown – with an emphasis on projects that have boosted the city’s job growth.

All four candidates had the opportunity to talk about what they would do to attract new business to the city and keep current ones from leaving. They also talked about getting students ready for the job market.