Hundreds marvel at growth at Youngstown’s 25th StreetScape planting

YOUNGSTOWN — Downtown Youngstown was bustling early Saturday morning with volunteers in StreetScape Silver Anniversary commemorative T-shirts carrying gardening tools.

At the large welcome tent at Central Square, Christine Price and her daughter, Avary, helped hundreds of volunteers get signed in and assigned to key city planting spots. They are from McDonald, and came to help because they love CityScape’s mission to make Youngstown a beautiful place to live and visit.

The architectural and botanical beauty of Youngstown was easy to see under a cloudless periwinkle sky, but CityScape and its entourage of loyal volunteers do much more than turn out for a single day of gardening. Adam Lee, program director of CityScape, explained that StreetScape is just one part of the annual development projects sponsored by the nonprofit organization. In fact, Youngstown’s enthusiastic gardening volunteers tend to the downtown foliage all year long.

Earlier in the year, Executive Director Sharon Letson and her team worked hard to raise funds, purchase supplies, create community partnerships and register corporate groups and individual volunteers for planting day. Fortunately, this year’s event could carry on with volunteer workers as it has for decades after COVID-19’s pandemic restrictions dampened last year’s workforce plans.

One loyal corporate group from Premier Bank in downtown Youngstown gathered near the John Young Memorial to rake away weeds and plant new greenery and flowers. Trish Gelsomino said the bank has supported StreetScape with employee volunteer teams for at least 10 years.

She explained how important it is for all the businesses downtown to work together for the city’s vitality. Fellow Premier Bank employees Barb Billett and Becky Westover rolled up their sleeves and made room for new flower bulbs in front of the monument.

Just across the street, a large red-caped tribe of Youngstown Parrot Heads club members worked on the grounds surrounding the B & O Station. Peggy Humes, who organized their large 2022 StreetScape volunteer crew, said members wore red capes to honor their longtime member and volunteer hero, Jaime Lowther, who died in January.

This year’s participation was a special tribute to Lowther, who always wore a red Wonder Woman cape to volunteer at StreetScape events in years past.

As the world busies itself with recovery and repair, rekindling hope for the future, and growth of all kinds, Youngstown’s SteetScape volunteers do their part. And if everything comes up roses in Youngstown this summer, you’ll know exactly who to thank.


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