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Youngstown's uptown district dealing with blight

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Downtown has seen some dramatic improvement over the past five years, but it's a different story for another one of the city's business districts.

The city's uptown, the area around Market Street and Indianola Avenue, is a main thorough fare that has fallen on hard times with vacant and boarded up store fronts, buildings with crumbling facades and broken windows.

A Rent-A-Center deals with two vacant properties on one side and an eyesore directly across the street. The manager believes it causes the location to lose potential customers.

"The better it looks, the more presentable and if the area is revitalized then a lot of potential customers from the Canfield, Boardman area and surrounding areas would feel a little more comfortable doing their shopping," says Maurice Lytle, the manager at Rent-A-Center.

Mayor Charles Sammarone says a number of vacant structures have been removed along the Market Street corridor and replaced with landscaping thanks to the Community Corrections Association.

Sammarone says the city is targeting other problem properties in the uptown as well.

"Code enforcement and demolition, trying to get people who own the property to either maintain them or tear them down," Sammarone says.

Youngstown CityScape, the lead organization for the new downtown initiative, says areas like the uptown won't be forgotten.

"Our belief has always been that you've got to start in your core and then work your way out. You have to have this healthy vibrant downtown and then it can spread," says Sharon Letson from Youngstown's CityScape.

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