Wednesday, March 8, 2017
By David Skolnick
The city’s Design Review Committee approved two projects meant to improve the look of downtown.
One project, approved Tuesday, lights an unused concrete railway arch that crosses Mahoning Avenue, near the Western Reserve Transit Authority headquarters.
The other project creates a green space at the hillside area on Hazel Street where Youngstown State University and downtown meet. The project features a rain garden and a small performance stage.
The two projects are among five selected for funding under a $100,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant awarded last year to YSU for downtown beautification as part of the Innovative Plan for Leveraging Arts Through Community Engagement (INPLACE) Initiative.
The railway project failed to get the committee’s approval when it was first introduced Feb. 7.
Committee members objected to the lights shining down on the street rather than on the archway’s walls.
Backers of the project said the lights will point toward the walls and will be affixed to the ceiling rather than swing.
“My biggest concern was a concentrated light pattern on the street,” said Charles Shasho, a DRC member and deputy director of public works for the city. “Now, the lights will be on the walls.”
The other INPLACE project approved is called The Wedge at Hazel Hill and will be next to the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor.
The project will include a rain garden and a small performance stage with the latter used for activities such as yoga classes and health care programs.
The committee last month approved another INPLACE project to build a solar screen of 3-D-printed bricks on the corner of Front Street and Vindicator Square on a grassy area of The Vindicator.
Also last month, the committee declined to approve a bus-shelter sculpture made from a shipping container and steel. The objection was to the location on Market Street in front of the Mahoning County Courthouse. A new location is being sought.
The fifth project hasn’t come before the committee yet. It is a public shadow art stage along the alley on the south side of the City Hall Annex building.
The projects must be finished by the end of July to receive the federal funding.