When Youngstown CityScape started Streetscape, a beautification program, it had about two dozen volunteers cleaning up a small part of downtown.
Streetscape will celebrate its 20th anniversary on June 3 with about 700 volunteers expected to clean up debris and plant flowers and shrubs in major sections of downtown and the surrounding areas.
“There’s been a transformation,” said Scott Schulick, Streetscape chairman and one of the original volunteers. “There wasn’t much pride in downtown 20 years ago. Trees and the landscape were overgrown and no one took care of downtown. Now we have a large group that has helped transform the look of downtown.”
“It’s grown exponentially,” added Sharon Letson, CityScape executive director. “When we started 20 years ago, there were two restaurants and a few businesses downtown. Our program and downtown have grown so much in 20 years.”
Youngstown CityScape kicked off the fundraising drive Monday for its 20th annual Streetscape planting day at the YMCA of Youngstown’s Manchester Room with a breakfast.
The planting day is scheduled for 8 a.m. to noon June 3. This year’s theme is “20 Years: People + Vision + Action.”
Volunteers will beautify downtown and surrounding areas by removing debris, trimming, planting flowers and shrubs, and mulching planted areas.
Project partners include the city, YSU, Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Program, YSUScape, Community Corrections Association, Youngstown Metropolitan Housing Authority, Men’s Garden Club of Youngstown, St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital, Fifth Avenue Boulevard Neighbors, Crandall Park South Neighbors, 7th Ward Citizens Coalition, Garden District Neighborhood Association, Rocky Ridge Neighbors, Mahoning Commons Association and the Wick Park Neighborhood Association.
Because of the 20th anniversary, Letson said Streetscape is asking people to add $20 or 20 percent to their annual donation to the effort.
CityScape usually raises about $50,000 annually for the Streetscape program, Letson said.
To volunteer or donate, contact CityScape by phone at 330-742-4040, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to its website: youngstowncityscape.org.