Fostering Community Along a Commercial Corridor

The Economic Action Group in northeastern Ohio collaborates with public and private partners to catalyze building renovations, increase foot traffic and attract new customers.

In Youngstown, Ohio, a multiyear investment program to renovate blighted properties along primary commercial corridors in the Mahoning Valley has earned the city’s Economic Action Group an international award and leveraged more than $1.8 million into local redevelopment, positively impacting local businesses, citizens and neighborhoods.

EAG’s Commercial Property Revitalization program, which is dedicated to enhancing economic viability and attracting potential tenants, has resulted in pending and ongoing investment in nearly 28,000 square feet of commercial property along the main corridor.

“EAG works closely with local governments and nonprofit partners to implement the program,” says Nick Chretien, EAG executive director. “These strong partnerships are key to our success."

The International Economic Development Council named the EAG a gold winner in the Neighborhood Development category of its 2023 Excellence in Economic Development Awards. Among many accolades, the EAG was recognized for providing access to design interns who can assemble portfolios for sites to help potential developers envision future uses and for contributing more than 3,500 hours of service to entrepreneurs, small businesses and anchor partners last year.

Anchor partners include the city of Youngstown, local land banks, the Western Reserve Port Authority and other nonprofit partners.

Mahoning County Land Bank supports the EAG by gaining “clean and clear” title to commercial properties that owners have abandoned. The land bank examines real estate data, property conditions, tax foreclosures and other indicators of inactivity, including utilities, to determine revitalization priorities.

Through Ohio’s Community Reinvestment Act, property owners that renovate existing or construct new buildings can receive property tax exemptions for investing in real property improvements that encourage walking, shopping and engaging locally. Covered renovations may include structural repairs, facade improvements, energy-efficient features, and compliance with safety and accessibility regulations.

The newest batch of IEDC Award winners will be recognized at the 2024 Annual Conference in Denver in September.


TREK exterior before and after

© Economic Action Group, Inc.

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