YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A new “community marketplace” is set to fill the former Bottom Dollar building on Glenwood Avenue after it has been left vacant for years.
A press release sent by Pastor Rosetta Carter of the Alliance for Congregational Transformation Influencing Our Neighborhoods (ACTION) described the new marketplace as a “transformational hub dedicated to addressing food insecurities and other pressing concerns within our vibrant community.”
“This space will not only provide immediate relief but also serve as a catalyst for long-term positive change,” the release states.
The plans for the new marketplace come from a partnership between Mayor Tito Brown and community partners.
Brown believes it’s past time to find a use for the long-empty building.
“This is a great opportunity for us, just to let people know it’s not just gonna sit idle anymore. We’re gonna start figuring out what’s gonna be the future of this location,” he said.
It’s the site of the old Cleveland School and playground, which were torn down years ago to make way for Bottom Dollar, which lasted less than two years. The building has been vacant since the grocery store closed in 2014.
While it was purchased by One Health Ohio five years ago in the hopes of building a clinic, the plans never came to fruition because of the pandemic. The city of Youngstown repurchased the building for $150,000 back in June.
Now, leaders are partnering with the group ACTION to convert it into a new community marketplace. Directors say they’d like to see it expand the services now provided through their Mobile Meals program.
“Then we would be able to feed more people, we’d be able to service more people. So it would be an extension of the grocery store on wheels,” Pastor Carter said.
Mobile Meals currently makes close to three dozen stops around the area each month, yet still has trouble meeting the demand.
“This may be open on the weekends. We also talked about having a van maybe leaving here and going, picking people up and bringing them back to this place,” said Jeff Stanford with ACTION.
But the mayor says he’d like to see the building remodeled into sections, with space set aside for a possible pregnancy care center, pharmacy, social service agency and supermarket.
At least one member of city council wants to see some of Youngstown’s American Rescue Plan money earmarked for renovations.
“That the city would see its way to putting in a million dollars to get this thing into reality because that, all this, we just need to build this out,” said Councilwoman Anita Davis.
Organizers believe the first tenants could move in around this time next year.