Mural celebrating Youngstown’s nightlife to start next week

By David Skolnick


A vacant building on Market Street, just south of downtown, will get an exterior makeover with a mural that celebrates the city’s downtown nightlife.

The city’s Design Review Committee on Tuesday approved a proposal from Community Corrections Association Inc., a halfway house on Market Street, to commission an artist to paint the mural on the south side of 519 Market St.

The former Gollan’s Honda Motorcycle Sales building is owned by Brian and Brandon Larew, who purchased the vacant structure for $8,000 in December 2011.

Patty Larew plans to open a consignment shop at the location, said Richard Billak, CCA’s chief executive officer, who is retiring in December from the agency he co-founded in 1974.

For the past 12 years, CCA has spent about $800,000 tearing down blighted structures and doing landscaping work on Market Street.

Billak said the mural, which has a “Bourbon Street” style, is his farewell present to the city. The mural will cost about $15,000, he said.

Christian Mrosko of Liberty, who painted a mural last year on the side of a building that faces the Youngstown Playhouse on Glenwood Avenue, will paint the mural on the Larew property.

CCA repaired the facade of the long-vacant building last year, Billak said. The property owners installed new front windows and are doing interior work getting the building ready for a consignment shop, he said.

The roof needs work.

“I don’t want to have a beautiful mural on [what could end up being] a condemned building,” said Charles Shasho, a design review committee member and the city’s deputy director of public works.

Billak said roof work will be done.

Mrosko will start the mural work next week, and it will take him about three months to complete it.

Cars and a sign in front of a used-tire business, just south of the Larew’s building, will obstruct the mural, Billak said, “but you can see it when you get close.”

Also Tuesday, the committee approved designs to dismantle and replace a pedestrian walkway between West Commerce and West Wood streets, near North Phelps Street.

The walkway has become a location for people to drink alcoholic beverages, Shasho said. The new design eliminates about four “zigzags” that made it easier for loiterers to hide what they were doing, he said.

“There is more of a sense of a secure area with this plan,” Shasho said. “We decided a straight shot with one alignment change is a better option.”

“This will be a nice improvement,” added John DeFrance, a DRC member. “We’ve had problems with people on those stairs.”

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