Some changes, some constants

If there’s one constant that comes out of 115 S. Third St. in Steubenville, it’s that change is inevitable.

We saw the latest example of that Tuesday when Cathy Davison submitted her resignation as city manager.

The announcement brought an end to what had been a long period of growing tension between council members and Davison.

That tension had grown decidedly worse in the past few weeks, and when the relationship broke down, it was clear that it was time for Davison, who held the post for a little more than 38 months, and council to part ways.

With that decision out of the way, members of city council now face an even bigger question – what’s next?

For now, we know that Mayor Domenick Mucci will serve as the interim city manager while the search is made for Davison’s replacement. Just how long that will take is anybody’s guess, but we do know that the city charter calls for the replacement to be in place in just a few months.

Whoever council hires as the new city manager will have his or her work cut out for him or herself. While the players will be different, the city will still face the same nagging problems it has for some time – an aging and declining population base, lower tax collections and a problem with crime in certain areas.

That said, the new city manager will be coming on board just about the same time as two new councilmen, Michael R. Johnson in the 2nd Ward and Bob Villamagna in the 6th Ward.

That will, at the very least, bring different perspectives to city government.

One thing that hasn’t changed on Third Street in recent years is the consistent quality of entertainment the summer concert series offers each Thursday night at the Berkman Amphitheater at Historic Fort Steuben.

This year’s season opens at 6:30 p.m. this week when the a cappella sounds of One-A-Chord and the Original Fantasys take the stage.

As always on opening night, a classic car cruise will be a part of the oldies night festivities. And, as always, there’s no charge to attend this week’s concert or any concert in the series, which is scheduled to run through Aug. 1.

It’s a great way to open the series. The Thursday concerts allow residents from across the Tri-State Area the chance to sit back, relax and enjoy some great entertainment with their friends and family members.

The concert series helps bring people downtown each week, which is good for restaurants and other businesses in and around the downtown area.

Several of those establishments received another shot in the arm Thursday, when the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce presented its annual Taste of Downtown and business after hours event in the parking lot of Tri-State Financial Services on Third Street.

There are area residents, including some who work and do business downtown, who often forget about the wide selection of food that’s available in the downtown area. That’s why it was important to see representatives from Froehlich’s Classic Corner, Mama G’s, Naples Spaghetti House, Downtown Bakery, Damon’s Grill and Sports Bar, Hu Nan Chinese Restaurant, Malta’s Pizza, Plain Jane’s and Heavenly Grounds on hand to show off some of their menu items.

Chamber President Sue Hershey and her staff, as well as Ken Perkins and Suzanne Kresser of Tri-State Financial and the participating businesses, are to be commended for their continued commitment to the area.

Thursday was a busy day for Hershey, as the chamber also announced the details for the third-annual Stars and Stripes Concert and Festival.

This year’s event will be held June 30 in Harding Stadium and will feature a whole day’s worth of activities, including a family fun zone presented by the Fort Steuben Mall, an evening concert headlined by Phil Vassar and featuring the Todd Jones Band and the Joseph Sisters and, of course, the city’s annual fireworks display.

Hershey, Chamber Chair John Cucarese and Tricia Maple-Damewood led the way in helping to plan the event. Also playing a big role in making the event possible is Dominic Teramana and Hollywood City Center, which has signed on as the presenting sponsor.

The downtown concerts, the Taste of Downtown and the Stars and Stripes Concert and Festival are examples of the good things our area has to offer which we often take for granted.

(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)