I just spent the last five days at my grandmother's. She lives in a small-ish city called Troy, Ohio. Troy is the county seat of Miami County. While there I noticed how nice the city is, and how well a small city can do.
Troy is a city designed around a central square.
The city is very well designed, and surrounding neighborhoods very well kept. I've been to teh city many times before, and what always impresses me is how well maintained their downtown is. It has a movie theater, several resturants, and numerous mom-and-pop stores.
Here are numerous pictures of downtown:
Troy City Annex Building, I believe this used to be a hotel.
US Bank in Troy
Troy's Mayflower Theater (the brightly painted building)
In addition to the great architecture in the city there are also numerous planters around the central square. Signage is interestingly done as well. The historic district of Troy in and around the downtown has street signs that are white script lettering on a brown background.
Overall Troy is a great city with a nice small-town feel. Youngstown needs to emulate thish through walkability. Troy is amazingly walkable, and you can get virtually anywhere just by walking.
Troy, though more economically vital, did see a downturn in te 1970s. It hasn't been until recently that Troy had been revitalized.
In addition, Troy constantly has free events in its downtown. When I was there there was a public arts project tied in with the local airforce base. Throughout the downtown there were fiberglass airplanes that were painted by various local artists. Also, Troy has live music from time to time at the square.
Youngstown can be like Troy, and I look forward to the day when Youngstown is thriving again.