Friday, June 29, 2007

The Youngstown River Walk

Imagine a lazy flowing river with great shops and restaurants with crowds that show this place to be a true destination. I happened to be in San Antonio a few weeks ago for work and was amazed by the River Walk. For those who have never been to San Antonio before or heard of the River Walk, the San Antonio River winds it way through downtown San Antonio and along its banks are a string of restaurants, small shops and tourist attractions, all within blocks of the Alamo. Youngstown doesn't have the Alamo (although several of our residents have made last stands against the YPD) but we do have a great river winding its way along several major roads near downtown.

There was some talk of a Youngstown River Walk a few years ago if I recall, tied in with the Mahoning Commons development (What is up with that project, by the way?). If it wasn't specific talk, there were examples where an attempt was made at starting in that direction. The B&O Restaurant and Anthony's-on-the-River had a good thing going for a while. The missing component to tie them together was the actual river walk. There is no easy way for people to walk along the banks of the Mahoning River.

Imagine having dinner at Anthony's and then taking a nice stroll on a summer's night heading towards the Chevy Centre and taking in a show. It sounds like a great idea to me, and I'm sure some of the other bloggers would agree. I'm not sure what influence I can have on such a project other than writing about it, since I am in fact 300 miles away, but this is certainly worthy of discussion once downtown gets the attention it needs.

I'm curious to see what others thing about this. It would be a great way to continue development of downtown and push it to the "Mahoning Commons" area.

Other cities, large and small, are trying River Walks as a way to expand their arts and entertainment districts. Check out these sites for more info:

1 comment:

Tyler S. Clark said...

Thanks so much for posting this. The river is, I think, a key to the ultimate restoration of downtown. And there's no reason to wait until the $4 billion or however much are raised for its cleanup.

I was reminded of this not just from memories of San Antonio's river walk, but from the Brookings Institution's recent Restoring Prosperity paper. One case study, on page 50, is "The Chattanooga Story" and its Moccasin Bend Task Force, charged with caring for a 22-mile corridor along the Tennessee River. The Tennessee Riverpark there has been a key component in the transormation of Chattanooga and the willingness of businesses to locate there.