Youngstown fetes beauty

Cityscape presents awards

Sharon Letson, Executive Director of Youngstown City Scape, presents Anthony and Joan Julian, and their son, Andrew Julian, with a Beautification Award for their home at McCollum Road. Youngstown CityScapes Program Director Adam Lee, at the podium, looks on.

YOUNGSTOWN — Stambaugh Auditorium’s new steps, the updated facade of Avalon Downtown and the Northeast Homeowners and Concerned Citizens “pocket parks” and other beautification sites were among projects recognized Thursday evening for making the city more beautiful.

In its 16th year, Youngstown CityScape’s Beautification Awards honored 17 individuals, families, community organizations, institutions and businesses. Winners were invited to a ceremony at Concept Studio on West Federal Street and were presented with garden signs.

“This is truly my favorite event each year as CityScape recognizes the effort and pride that people have put into their property and highlights the best of our community,” Youngstown CityScape Executive Director Sharon Letson said.

Adam Lee, program director for CityScape, said the awards encourage people to participate in beautification by providing incentive and inspiration. This year, CityScape wanted to recognize some projects that were less “traditional,” such as the city’s Fifth Avenue project, which incorporated green infrastructure, or pollinator gardens and natural landscaping.

Receiving the award for the project, Mayor Jamael Tito Brown said work downtown is “to be continued,” and to be patient with the city.

“Orange cones mean progress,” he said.

The Rev. Richard Murphy, president of Ursuline High School, accepted an award on behalf of the school for its manicured grounds.

“At 118 years, we intend to keep on going and growing with our city,” Murphy said.

Six individuals or families who have remarkably beautiful homes and gardens also were given awards.

“This is pretty neat to get recognized for something I thought you were just supposed to do,” Wendy Webb said.

She said she gardens in memory of her grandmother and, now that she’s older, with the help of “young people” Marlene and Jamie Francis.

Joshua Rupe, in accepting his award, said that keeping up his garden is part of his exercise routine.

“I like to call it ‘yardio,'” Rupe joked.

Other winners included residents Robert Beardman and Emily Wainio, Brian Williams, Kim and Jim Stefanak and Anthony Julian; institutions, Paisley House, Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County; community organization, Handel’s Neighborhood Association; and businesses, Unabandoned Gardens and V&V Appliance Parts.

V&V received two nominations for the award, Lee noted — one from staff nominating the owners and one from the owners nominating the staff. He said Youngstown CityScape was glad to recognize all of them.

CityScape looks for nominations for the awards in the summer. Lee encouraged city residents to keep their eyes open for beautiful places and notable projects and to submit those for next year’s awards.


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