Annual Streetscape cleanup is today downtown


Staff report

YOUNGSTOWN

Flowers line the perimeter of the Mahoning County Children Services’ parking garage as Youngstown CityScape volunteers prepare for the annual Streetscape cleanup.

The event starts at 9 a.m. today and goes until noon. Volunteers will beautify and clean up downtown and surrounding areas.

Focus areas are Central Square, West and East Federal streets, John Young Memorial, South Avenue Bridge Police Memorial, Mahoning Commons, B&O Station, Choffin hillside, city hall, Youngstown State University bridge overpasses, Wick Park, Harrison Common Park and Smoky Hollow Veterans Memorial.

Celebrating its 21st year, the Streetscape program has significantly grown since its start in 1998. Originally sourcing its flowers from the Men’s Garden Club of Youngstown, the program now orders from larger suppliers because of the program’s high demand.

CityScape “started out with a few pots and a few flats of flowers and has grown to us having almost 800 volunteers last year,” says its executive director Sharon Letson.

Volunteer John Lapin, working on a makeshift table sitting on two trash receptacles in the parking garage, sifts through planning sheets while trying to organize planting locations.

The flowers are divided and distributed to specific locations so volunteers, with the aid of master gardeners, can plant them.

Lapin, who got involved in the project through the Downtown Revitalization Program in 1997, says the project is infectious.

Letson says the cleanup brings a sense of pride to volunteers with roots in Youngstown.

“Our community deserves to look good,” she says. “...How you look is important to everything that happens.”

Project partners are 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.

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