Rejuvenated greenhouse hosts sale and open house

Correspondent photo / Sean Barron Longtime friends Melissa Mancini, left, and Christine Price, both of McDonald, proudly display 24-inch berry and cone wreaths they bought at Saturday’s Winter Greenery Sale and Open House at the Youngstown CityScape at Briel’s greenhouse in Youngstown.

YOUNGSTOWN — John Slanina waxed nostalgic as he recalled having visited the former Briel’s Flowers & Greenhouse as a child.

A large smile then beamed on his face while he explained part of his role in helping to revive the building from which many happy childhood memories occurred.

“It’s just really nice to have this in the neighborhood,” said Slanina, who is part of Youngstown CityScape’s Board of Directors.

In late July, the nonprofit downtown beautification, development and revitalization organization bought the closed 97-year-old building for $145,000. CityScape has a series of plans to remodel and repurpose the building at 23 S. Belle Vista Ave., on the West Side, Sharon Letson, CityScape’s executive director, noted.

In the meantime, the spacious former greenhouse is home to a Winter Greenery Sale and Open House, which began Saturday.

The event Youngstown CityScape is hosting also continues 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 4 and Dec. 11. In addition, CityScape will host a night market 4 to 8 p.m. Friday on Phelps Street in downtown Youngstown, Letson noted.

Items for sale include a selection of wreaths, swags, greenery and garland. Mainly because CityScape sold out of mums during a fall sale, they suggest people pre- order to ensure availability of items sought.

Orders can be placed by visiting www.youngstowncityscape.com.

Among those whose holidays will include a larger dose of greenery are longtime friends Melissa Mancini and Christine Price, both of McDonald. For Mancini, sentimentality also is part of the picture.

“I’ve been waiting for this (sale) before I can put my lights up,” Mancini said, adding that she will see plenty of family and friends during the holidays, which also causes her to think of those she’s lost, such as her father, Robert Hartill.

Hartill, whom she described as loving, funny and outgoing, had a special and unique way of hanging the lights and decorations each year. His humorous approach added to the holiday cheer and festivities, recalled Mancini, who bought a 24-inch mixed berry and cone wreath Saturday.

Price, who bought the same type of wreath as Mancini, said she purchased additional wreaths — one each for two of her aunts. She also plans to celebrate the holidays in a traditional manner by being in the moment with family and loved ones.

“Christmas plans have gotten smaller over the years,” she said. “I will celebrate Christmas Eve and have a big feast.”

Price added with laughter that she intended Saturday to “bribe my husband” via persuading him to add the Christmas lights and decorations to their residence.

Briel’s, often described as the city’s last urban greenhouse, closed Dec. 31, 2019. Nevertheless, Youngstown CityScape intends to return the building to being a greenhouse, as well as to include a flower shop, along with educational events and workshops on flowers and horticulture.

Remodeling likely will include replacing some window glass and doing stone work in the front, Letson explained.

Another important component is developing “multi-layered partnerships” with entities such as the Mahoning County Land Bank, she noted.



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