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Youngstown planting group blossoms to 500 volunteers

Published: Sat, March 23, 2013 @ 12:05 a.m.

By David Skolnick



John Lapin was among a small group of residents 16 years ago with a plan to spend a day beautifying the city’s downtown.

Now, that group has increased to about 500, and those volunteers will spend June 1, from 8 a.m. to about noon, planting flowers and shrubs, mulching areas, and removing debris as part of Youngstown CityScape’s 16th annual Streetscape program, called Grow the Yo!

“We started it to help clean up downtown,” said Lapin, operations administrator for Ohio One Corp. and co-chairman of the Streetscape committee. “It was deplorable at that time. After that first event, we have had huge turnouts.”

Volunteers will beautify the downtown area and Wick Park.

The event usually raises about $50,000 annually to purchase flowers, shrubs, mulch, and planting and cleaning equipment, said Sharon Letson, executive director of Youngstown CityScape, which oversees Streetscape.

Streetscape officials announced the 16th annual event and its fundraising drive Friday at the D.D. and Velma Davis Center at Mill Creek MetroParks’ Fellows Riverside Gardens.

“We started off 16 years ago with a couple of brooms and pots of flowers,” Letson said. “It’s blown into a major community involvement program and 500” participants.

Letson said Lapin plays a key role in the annual event.

“He makes sure all the plants get delivered, and he is who I call when water is running down Federal Street and I can’t stop it,” she said.

Lapin said he enjoys seeing “how many people are proud and concerned about downtown. It’s the community coming together and being interested in the appearance of downtown.”

“Sixteen years ago, we were one of the seeds being planted to start the rebirth” of downtown, said Pete Asimakopoulos, CityScape president and executive vice president of small business banking/Youngstown market president for First National Bank. “I get very excited about where we came from, where we are now and where we’re going.”

The focus areas for Grow the Yo! are Wick Park, West and East Federal streets, John Young Memorial, the Police Memorial at Front Street and South Avenue, the Choffin Hillside, City Hall and Wick Park.

Last year, Streetscape received $100,000 from the Youngstown Foundation and $50,000 from the Raymond John Wean Foundation for significant improvement work at Wick Park.


1One_Who_Stayed(240 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Stay out in the burbs zz3.

Good things are happening down here and you clearly don't want to be a part of it. Go hang out at TGI Fridays and keep your trash talk where it belongs - to yourself.

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2city_resident(528 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

I'm with One_Who_Stayed. zz3 obviously has no idea what they are talking about.

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3One_Who_Stayed(240 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

It's only OBVIOUS to trolls such as yourself who sit in moms basement and do nothing more that post sh1t like this about any positive vindicator articles.

Given your obvious intelligence level, your tax dollars (if, in fact, there are any) surely don't amount to much. And anyone who gets their local information from a rag like Forbes should have their empty head examined. How you managed to be right about the city's leadership being total crap I'll never know - beginners luck I guess. We have a City Council made up of 6 self-serving career politicians and 1 decent, intelligent guy (Paul Drennen - in case you were wondering - but I'm sure you weren't). The next elections will change that, I'm certain. People here are finally seeing these clowns for what they are and will get rid of them.

Yes - we need better leadership, but the things happening here luckily don't rely on city council. There are many hard-working residents that make these things happen without them. So as I said, if you don't want to be part of it, stay out in the burbs in Moms basement and don't bother these good folks anymore.

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4One_Who_Stayed(240 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

zz3 I think you ought to take your own advise and spend a bit of time here.

I live and work here. I walk down these streets and see whats happening here on a daily basis and have for the last 22 years which is exactly why I know how full of crap your description of town is. You clearly spend no time here what-so-ever and have no idea what the sam-hell you are talking about. There are, in fact, a few bums hanging around begging for money, but they are not nearly the plague you make them out to be.

"To improve truth must be in the open" absolutely true - it's just a shame that people like you don't seem to know the difference between your twisted perception of a place you never go and what that place is actually like. The truth is that downtown is a really nice place to live, work and hang out. If you don't realize this that's fine - stay out in the burbs in moms basement and quit slinging any more of your warped reality BullS&^%t.

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5One_Who_Stayed(240 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Back to mommy's basement with ya. Fly Fly Fly. . . .

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6One_Who_Stayed(240 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

So - a day after CityScape - downtown's looking great, sun is shining - flowers and landscaping are done - people are out and about enjoying downtown.

Face facts? How would you possibly have any idea what a fact is? Facts to you are simply anything your twisted mind makes up and you spew onto an opinion website. Hope it makes you feel better, because it does nothing else other than verify the fact that you don't know what you're talking about and clearly never come here to enjoy what so many others do.

Stay home in mommy's basement. I'm sure you're allergic to sunshine, fun people and anything else that might actually be good.

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