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Your Voice Ohio: Glimmers of Hope Amid Warren's Crumbling Buildings

By M.L. Schultze, Your Voice Ohio

Trumbull County used to be one big story: Steel. Its rise in the first half of the 20th Century, and its collapse in the second.

Today, Trumbull is many stories. Some focus on continued economic decline, others on rebirth. Those stories often share the same moral repeated in communities across rural Ohio: There is no silver bullet.

Behind the stories, there is grit and resilience and efforts especially among younger people, to move on from the past.

Trumbull still has the sprawling Lordstown GM plant that has long been its life preserver. In less than two years, though, the plant has shed 3,000 jobs. The future of the remaining 1,500 is uncertain.

Warren, the county seat, has David Grohl Alley. It’s a quirky embrace of the Foo Fighters founder and Warren native, and home to Modern Methods Brewing Company. It also has a poverty rate approaching 20 percent.

It has a new downtown amphitheater, and the crumbling shell of St. Joseph’s hospital.

What it doesn’t have is any way to travel back to a more prosperous past, or any single way to leap into a more vibrant future.

“Wouldn’t it be a whole lot easier if some big headquarters just kind of came and solved all the problems?” said Tim Francisco, head of Youngstown State University’s Center for Working-Class Studies. “But I like to think people are beginning to understand the need for diversification more.”

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