Youngstown State University, OH- Youngstown’s economic enginee

For this evaluation I also include the historic Smoky Hollow neighborhood to the east of Youngstown State (YSU) between Wick Ave and Crab Creek. The neighborhood’s name derives from smoke saturated air commonplace in the neighborhood due to the Mahoning Valley Iron Company. Immigrants arrived starting in the late 1800s and until the 1960s it was a thriving working class neighborhood. Sadly white flight, suburban sprawl, and the City’s industrial collapse were not kind to the neighborhood. Most of the neighborhood is now vacated other than a few houses, Cassese’s MVR restaurant (been around since the 1920s!) and some expansion from YSU. I hope that one day the University and City leaders commit themselves to rebuilding this neighborhood given its proximity to Downtown.

YSU was founded in 1908 but mostly developed since the 60s when it became a state university. While this is mostly a commuter college, it provided a much needed economic lifeline to Downtown Youngstown and surrounding neighborhoods. YSU also helps provide a decent streetscape along Wick Ave, good greenspace with several quads, cultural activities, and some restaurants and bars. City planning efforts are in the works to better connect YSU to Downtown, and already several apartment buildings have sprung up serving its students.
Click here to view my Youngstown State Album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Good ADA and sidewalk infrastructure at YSU but not so great in the depopulation parts of Smokey Hollow. 
* Decent pubic transit access, or at least good for Youngstown standards.
* Great access to jobs with around 10K at YSU and over 30K Dwtn.
* Good racial diversity in YSU.
* Decent park amenities with the expansive Wick Park just north of the neighborhood, green space in the YSU quads and Harrison Field.
* Some good cultural amenities including several restaurants and bars, both a modern and contemporary art museum, a live music venue, the cultural amenities of YSU and walkable access to Dwtn’s amenities.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Very low density
* Limited bike infrastructure but YSU’s campus is at least bike friendly.
* Income diversity is low here as there are mostly students living here.
* For sale product is very limited here. Some rental product.
* Retail amenities are limited to the University bookstore and walkable amenities Dwtn.
* Schools are limited although the neighborhood hosts a small college prep school and an ok elementary school is located about a mile north.

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