YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Teams of volunteers across 50 sites – downtown and neighborhoods – joined forces on Saturday for Streetscape, dubbed “The Real Stemulus” this year.
And what a stimulus it was, a “wake-up call from the last year we’ve all been through,” observed Mary Gresh, an Austintown volunteer.
The annual flower planting and clean-up event, sponsored by the nonprofit CityScape, could not take place in 2020 due to the pandemic. The year, the 24th Streetscape, brought together over 450 volunteers on a sunny day filled with hope.
“Everyone had a smile on their face. Everyone was happy to see people they hadn’t seen in a while and to work together as a team. It’s a big difference from where we all were a year ago, ”said Scott Schulick, President of CityScape and Vice President of Investments at Stifel Nicolaus.
“It’s a perfect day, a beautiful day. We do all kinds of things, ”added Sharon Letson, Executive Director of CityScape. “Everything is going to be cleaned downtown. “
Some 100 donors have contributed $ 30,000 to fund “The Real Stemulus”. CityScape purchased 100 meters of mulch and plant trucks, which city street officials distributed to designated sites.
By the afternoon, hundreds of flowers – all red, white and blue – had been planted, city workers had “watered them all,” Letson said, cleaned out municipal trash cans and sprayed downtown sidewalks. city.
“It’s important for a number of reasons this year,” said Peter Asimakopoulos, former president of CityScape and president of Youngstown Market for First National Bank. “It’s going back to some normalcy, going back to a routine, bringing people back to downtown Youngstown.”
Outside of the city center, more than 25 neighborhood groups also participated in “The Real Stemulus,” the largest neighborhood participation ever, according to Letson.
“It’s not just downtown now,” Mayor Jamael Tito Brown said. “It spreads in neighborhoods and neighborhoods are [saying], ‘We know what we want our neighborhoods to look like. Just give us the shovels and mulch and we will. “
Above: Mayor Jamael Tito Brown and Sharon Letson, Executive Director of CityScape.
George Nelson contributed reporting and photos for this story.
Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.