Maybe you ate at The Crystal Room. Perhaps you even stayed in one of the rooms. Probably, you just pass it by and probably don’t even notice when you drive down Wick Avenue. Of course, I’m talking about The Wick-Pollock Inn, and since most of us remember it as a hotel, the place has faded out of our memories when creditors closed it down in late 1998.
It was back in the news however, in late 2004, when YSU announced they’d be re-openening the Inn, and unlike the first incarnation, the inn would be completely run by the university. In a Jambar article from October of 04, they reported tables were collecting dust, tiles were uprooted, wallpaper and siding is beginning to fall off; the property was in a generally unkempt condition, and David Sweet was calling for a rennovation.
However, since that time, no such remodeling has taken place. The Wick-Pollock remains in atrocious condition, and could rival some of the buildings on Federal Street that have been demolished to make way for courthouses and parking lots. The two biggest differences between them though, is 1.) YSU didn’t own the Federal St. buildings, and 2.) the Wick-Pollock hasn’t even had ten years to degenerate to its current state, in contrast to the other buildings, which were allowed to sit vacant for much longer.
Many a time, certain people have called for a hotel in downtown. People have also called for the Wick-Pollock to re-open, at an almost identical frequency. YSU asserted that it will be re-opened, yet almost two years have passed and nothing has been done. I realize some more important issues have arose, namely the plan to connect campus to downtown which has hit a snag, but when they make an announcement like that, when they call in the media to let everyone know about this, and then don’t do anything, I begin to question their committment to it. Therefore, perhaps plans for the inn should be altered.
Perhaps the addition to the house could be demolished, which could make way for more parking, and the mansion could be maintained as a guest house of sorts for visitors of the college. Why I think this is because when I think of YSU running a hotel entirely on their own, a comparable hotel that comes to mind is the Ohio University Inn. While that isn’t owned by OU, its primary purpose is to accomadate people and families who are visiting OU.YSU does not enjoy the advantage of having a built-in base of college visitors who need lodging, being a commuter school, and not being one that attracts applicants state and nationwide. This, and that an inn entirely run by the university may or may not be more accomadating to people who may stay there for other reasons, like golfing. This may sound absurd, but they may choose to cut costs by cutting back on things such as early breakfasts and concierge, which can be rather unaccomadating. This, or cleaning the space of any hospitality-related possessions and converting it into classroom space, seem to be the only truly viable options for the inn right now. For a moment, you might think YSU could just sell it, though this seems extremely unlikely since they own all the surrounding property.
I understand that what’s been written on this blog can be seen by some as negative; articles that are critical of the city. I don’t believe in that at all. I truly believe in what the city is trying to do to renew itself, and I feel they will succeed in the end. However, there are some already-existing issues in the city I feel can’t be ignored, and I try my best to bring light to them and to introduce some dialogue as to what can be done. I know Youngstown will succeed, and though not everything will be perfect, we can at least try to make it that way.
But in closing, if you do happen to be near the campus or have some free time, take a look at the Wick-Pollock for yourself. Browse through the gardens, peek through the windows, just take a look at its condition. If you were ever in there, or even if you won’t, you will see why I’m utterly shocked to see it in its present state.