Interface Studio completed a comprehensive plan for a 3 mile stretch of US 422 Corridor and surrounding neighborhoods in the Cities of Youngstown and Girard, Ohio. This Corridor was historically known for its steel production, but like many industrial centers across the US, companies began outsourcing operations overseas, and by 1982, 40,000 jobs were lost in the area. A drastic decline in the local population followed the loss of jobs, as communities that originally provided homes to workers of the nearby mills left, and in its wake vast amounts of unused and blighted land. However, in recent years, the Corridor has experienced a significant boom, with investments of over $1.2 billion in a state-of-the-art steel pipe mill facility with additional facilities related to the emerging energy industry on the way. This plan was developed to help further recent momentum and attract real resources to create a reinvigorated jobs center and revitalize local neighborhoods.
The plan’s recommendations were based on a vision that emerged from our public outreach for the project which included interactive meetings, a business survey and a ‘meeting in a box’ that traveled to different meetings and events. The resulting themes improving the look and function of the 422, unlocking the potential of land for growth, stabilizing residential areas and, activating natural assets such as the Mahoning River.
Participants involved in the process identified blight and the need to expand and diversify the approaches to managing vacant land in the communities as their top priority for the plan. Working with the Mahoning County Land Bank, formerly known as Lien Forward Ohio, Interface Studio developed a strategy for how to make decisions on employing different vacant land management techniques to target limited funding where it would make the most impact on the 995 acres of vacant land in the study area.