Youngstown has a potential ‘Mount Washington’ view of its own

Many Youngstown area residents are familiar with Pittsburgh’s delightful Mount Washington district, which offers spectacular views of that city’s famous Golden Triangle at the confluence of the Monongahela and the Allegheny rivers with the mighty Ohio. According to USA Magazine, the view from Mount Washington overlooking downtown Pittsburgh is one of the best urban vistas in America.

Although Youngstown’s elevation differences are not as expansive as its nearby Pennsylvania neighbor, many stunning vista points within the city are well known, namely: Mill Creek Park’s Old Mill and Lanterman’s Falls from the Canfield Road concrete arch bridge; scenic Lake Glacier from Fellows Riverside Garden; Federal Plaza and downtown Youngstown from the 17th Floor of the First National Bank Building (formerly the Central Tower); and the Youngstown skyline while traveling to the city center from the west side’s Mahoning Avenue.

Youngstown’s freeway system offers a couple of outstanding views as well, particularly when entering the community from the north along Ohio Route 711 and also along the I-680 terrace in the vicinity of WFMJ’s television transmitter tower. From these vantage points, travelers can see both up and down the expansive Mahoning River corridor. And anyone who has ever attended a Youngstown State University football game at Stambaugh Stadium or a meeting at the facility’s DeBartolo Room can attest one can see for miles in all directions.

Presently, Youngstown has an opportunity to enhance perhaps the most intriguing view of its downtown area, from an East Woodland Avenue vantage point situated between the Market Street and South Avenue. If the Woodland Avenue bluff is properly developed, it could compliment the ongoing renaissance in the Youngstown Central Business District, improve the city’s image and also instill community pride — all goals of the Youngstown 2010 plan. Ironically, page 14 of the Youngstown 2010 report includes a well known circa 1870 photo courtesy of the Mahoning Valley Historical Society which overlooks Youngstown from the Woodland Avenue crest well before the existing roadway was originally constructed.

Utilizing federal stimulus dollars, this summer will see the reconstruction of this important East Woodland Avenue thoroughfare, which in addition to providing a scenic overlook, also facilitates an important link to the interstate highway system. In conjunction with the pending road construction activities, at least five entities (the city of Youngstown, the Mahoning River Consortium, the Mahoning River Corridor Initiative, Cityscapes and the Community Corrections Association) are collaborating to enhance the land adjacent to Woodland Avenue, particularly between its northern right-of-way and the escarpment overlooking downtown and the Mahoning River Valley.

With some imagination and creativity, there could be a mini-Mount Washington in Youngstown’s future. Thus, the community at large should fully support all of efforts underway to make this worthwhile Woodland Avenue bluff enhancement project a reality.

William D. DeCicco, Boardman