AUSTINTOWN-YOUNGSTOWN Planners stress teamwork with city

The hope is that some city and township revitalization plans are compatible.
AUSTINTOWN -- Anthony Kobak doesn't want local residents to be fooled by the title of Youngstown's effort to create a plan for the future.
Youngstown 2010 isn't just about Youngstown, he said.
"It's going to benefit everyone else," said Kobak, a chief planner for the city's planning department. "You might be better off than Youngstown, but you'd be even better with a stronger Youngstown, and vice versa."
Kobak talked about Youngstown 2010 at a Monday night meeting of the Austintown Growth Foundation. The foundation is paying for 20/20-Austintown, an effort to create a plan for the township.
Seeking compatibility
Representatives from Youngstown 2010 and 20/20-Austintown have met several times in the past few months to discuss the plans. Kobak noted that the city wants to ensure that its plan is compatible with the 20/20-Austintown plan when it comes to addressing issues along Meridian Road, which is the border between the city and township.
"We can't stop planning at the city's limits," he said.
Kobak added that Youngstown 2010 will address economic issues that concern the rest of the Mahoning Valley as well as ways to improve the Valley's image. That could help make the region attractive to businesses looking to move to a new location, he said.
"We're not competing against Austintown. We're competing as a region against Cleveland, against Pittsburgh, against other regions," Kobak said.
James D'Eramo, chairman of the 20/20-Austintown steering committee, said he believes suburban residents need to work with city residents for the good of the Valley.
"People are going to have to start talking about the region and getting together to work together," he said.
Past project
Township Trustee David Ditzler, a growth foundation member, noted that trustees offered to work with the city on an economic development project in the late 1990s. The project would have allowed the city to collect tax revenue from some industrial land on North Meridian Road in the township.
The city would then limit the amount of money it would charge the township for using city water.
Ditzler said the project was presented to the city's Youngstown Community Improvement Corp. He has not heard from the city about the project since then.
"Anything we can do to partner with the city of Youngstown, to show there's an air of cooperation, we need to do," Ditzler said.
The 20/20-Austintown plan is slated to be complete in August; Youngstown 2010 is expected to be finished later this year.