Sunday, April 13, 2014

This Week's Youngstown Roundup

Razing An Industrial Relic: On Monday, demolition began on the behemoth GE plant located north of the Market Street Bridge near the 680 interchange. Built in 1909, the 172,000-square-foot plant has sat vacant for nearly 30 years.

Demolition began on the 1909 GE building this week.
About a year ago on the Defend Youngstown Facebook page, folks were asked to rank the number one commercial structure structure in the city that needed to be demolished. The GE plant was number one on the list. Apparently, the Mayor agrees, tweeting the following this week: 'It's a beautiful day in #Youngstown to watch the old #GEBuilding demolition start on Market Street!". 

GE paid for the demolition and will retain ownership of the property in hopes to be able to market the land for new development.

Park & Recreation Gears Up: On Tuesday, the Youngstown City Council Park & Recreation committee met with department officials to discuss plans for the summer. Officials are preparing programs at several city parks in which over 600 youth are expected to participate. The city is also considering purchasing a number of splash pads at various locations to help city youth with summer heat.

Members of the city's Park & Recreation committee discuss summer plans.
Also, city forester Dave Sturtz gave an update on the status of tree removal. The one-man crew now has the waiting list down to a three-year mark. Officials are looking to fund additional staff to assist the department this year.

Planning Initiative Winds Down: Also, Tuesday night was the final planning meeting for neighborhood residents (recap). The citywide meeting was held at the Covelli Centre Community Room. Residents were given a final opportunity to offer input. Also, feedback was provided from previous meetings. Not surprisingly, issues related to vacant property topped the list but things such as marketing and assistance with neighborhood organizing and project planning were also included.

YNDC's Ian Beniston answers audience member's questions.
A final meeting is scheduled with students and faculty at YSU next week. YNDC will release a full report soon and a final comprehensive plan later this year.

Downtown Sign Language: On Thursday, the fourth meeting of downtown stakeholders was held at the Youngstown Business Incubator. The group - which mostly consists of business owners - is focusing on signage as their first project. A consultant from Cleveland provided the group with an overview of how the city developed a signage strategy for different neighborhoods. The group then broke into teams and provided input on maps as to where focus should be directed.

Downtown stakeholders provide downtown marketing input at the YBI.
If interested in the project, contact Dominic C. Marchionda at

Burning Off Winter On The Mahoning: Also on Thursday, Polish Youngstown held their annual Topenie Marzanny at the B&O Station Boxcar Lounge. The tradition includes the burning and drowning of the effigy of Marzanny, the Slavic goddess of death and winter. The act is a symbol of spring's triumph over winter. Polish Youngstown members did their part by lighting this doll on fire and tossing her into the Mahoning River.

A member of Polish Youngstown prepares the Marzanny doll for a toss in the Mahoning.
Photo: Ken Shrilla
After, folks were treated to this homemade Polish feast for only $5 (not pictured: incredible strawberry cake)!

Polish Youngstown monthly happy hour events feature homemade meals such as this one.
Meanwhile, just up the banks of the river, a father and son were getting in some fishing time on the new boat launch. The refurbished launch was a project of the Friends of the Mahoning River.
A father and son get in some fishing on the banks of the Mahoning at the B&O Station. 
Polish Youngstown holds monthly happy hours at different locations throughout the Valley. Join their mailing list here for updates and join the fun.

Tressel For President?: On Friday, Jim Tressel made it official: he's applying for the presidency of Youngstown State University. Various political, business and community leaders have aggressively advocated that the board of trustees consider Tressel for the top post. Tressel has also applied for the presidency at the University of Akron. Both universities plan to select a president by July 1. YSU trustees note that every candidate will be treated fairly and evaluated based on how well they interview, what type of vision they have for the university, and how they can help it through difficult financial times.

Jim Tressel applied for the YSU presidency on Friday.
Photo: WKBN
Meanwhile, two other YSU deans are finalists for jobs at other universities. College Of Creative Arts & Communication dean Dr. Bryan DePoy is in the running for the dean of the University of Maine College of Liberal Arts & Sciences while STEM dean Dr. Martin Abraham is a finalist for provost of Northern Illinois University. Abraham is also interested in the YSU presidency. It should be an interesting next few months at YSU. Stay tuned.

'Classic Restaurants Of Youngstown' Hits Shelves: The highly anticipated book, 'Classic Restaurants Of Youngstown', hit shelves this week at select locations in the Mahoning Valley. The book features notable Mahoning Valley restaurants (and stories) of past and present. On Saturday, author Tom Welsh held a reading and book signing at the Brier Hill Cultural Center. Some interesting background on the book was provided and audience members shared stories about some of their favorite spots.

Author Tom Welsh (right) signs copies of this new book at the Brier Hill Cultural Center.
Youngstown Nation has signed copies of the book for purchase at the store. Of course, the first customer this week was none other than the Youngstown Business Incubator chief evangelist himself, Jim Cossler (below).

YBI Chief Evangelist Jim Cossler purchases the first signed copy at Youngstown Nation.
Books sales help support the store. Stop by and grab one for your favorite Youngstown friend or relative (or maybe even yourself). A great read and unique gift idea.

Geocaching In The Green Cathedral: On Sunday, Mill Creek MetroParks organized an interesting and fun new public event that combines technology and the great outdoors. Geocaching is 'the real-world, outdoor treasure hunting gaming using GPS devices' such as a smart phone. At Mill Creek, folks gathered at the Newport Wetlands to receive a quick training and then headed out to find a number of hidden geocaches. Once a geocache is discovered, folks sign a logbook and choose a treasure left by the last person (while replacing it with something of equal value).

Geocatchers discover a cache near the Newport Wetlands in Mill Creek MetroParks.
Mill Creek has over 60 hidden caches and there are over 6 million worldwide. It's a fun way to discover different parts of the great outdoors both locally and abroad. Download the app and have fun discovering off-the-beaten path areas Green Gathertral with a friend. Happy hunting.

Youngstown Caricatures: We close this roundup with a cartoon rendition of the downtown skyline. It's truly amazing what smart phones can do these days.

Notable Stories Of The Week