Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Confidence Lost?

Tuesday the carriage house at 259 Park Ave. was demolished. Since then, there has been much impassioned dialogue — and rightfully so — about why the demolition happened, despite plans for preservation.

The CDA is committed to carrying out the community’s wishes. The CDA did its part to communicate the mutual commitment that was reached between residents and neighborhood stakeholders at a public forum Nov. 9 at Wick Park.

During the discussion, attendants pledged to develop a task force to determine an interim strategy for the reuse of the remaining historical structures at 259 Park Ave. The property, the recent target of arson, was built in 1875. The stone structure was the first house on Park Ave. in what is now a historic district recognized by The National Register of Historical Places.

While 259 Park Ave. was demolished, the structure was not the only thing that the city lost. The city lost the confidence of the community in its ability to effectively implement agreed upon strategy for neighborhood revitalization.

The CDA has always strived to remain sensitive to the needs and concerns of residents. The recent activities surrounding 259 Park Ave. show that there is still much room for improvement. There must be effective collaboration between city departments if community-based projects are to be successful.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Neighborhood Action Partners: Treez Please

In continuing with our Neighborhood Action Partners series, we’re profiling Deb Weaver and her work with Treez Please, an organization that has been instrumental in Youngstown’s beautification process.

If you notice more trees lining Youngstown’s streets, you have Deb Weaver to thank for the added greenery.

Since Weaver, along with four other initial members, started Treez Please about two years ago, she and others have undertaken various projects aimed at replenishing the city’s trees.

For their first project, Treez Please acquired property on the corner of Broadway and Kensington, turning the area into a pocket park that included trees and a walking path. Initially, Weaver wanted Treez Please to be a reforestation project that would take advantage of the changes created by building removal.

“It was creating a lot of green space,” Weaver said of demolition.

In addition to reforestation, Treez Please members have been focusing much of their time on targeting neighborhoods with streets in need of foliage. Most recently, they have finished working on an area on Midlothian and also did some planting in Wick Park. Weaver also plans to work downtown, in a project that will add two trees to the front of the DeYor Performing Arts Center.

In addition to continuing with the street tree projects, Weaver has her sights set on expansion. Fundraisers and grants approved by the Wean Foundation finance Treez Please, but Weaver wants to go after bigger Neighborhood Success grants.

“There’s more and more demand,” she said.

In addition to Treez Please, Weaver is involved in a number of other organizations:

Founding member of the Grey to Green Festival
Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation
Neighborhood Success Grant Board
Art Youngstown
She also blogs about Youngstown.
Photo courtesy of Deb Weaver

Thursday, November 5, 2009

YNDC Executive Director Chosen

The Youngstown Neighborhood Development corporation has chosen Presley Gillespie as its executive director. You can read more about Gillespie in the Business Journal's article.