Wednesday, September 26, 2007

idora cleanup - southside's finest

Looking for something to do this weekend?

There are two events taking place on Saturday that go hand and hand with the South Side of Youngstown.

First, there will be a neighborhood cleanup from 9am to 11am for the Idora neighborhood.

The neighborhood gets its name from Idora Park, an amusement park that was situated in the center of the city. Similar to Conneaut Lake and Geauga Lake, Youngstown's "million-dollar playground" is now closed. You can visit a good Idora Park site here.

All participants should meet on Parkview Avenue in front of the former Idora Park site. Trash bags and equipment will be provided. Here is a map with the meeting site on it:

The Idora Park neighborhood and its residents are beginning the process of neighborhood revitalization, and everyone in the Mahoning Valley is invited to participate in the cleaning and greening of this historic south side area. It's always amazing to me to see all the mansions in this neighborhood, especially the enormous houses that are on Volney Road, adjacent to Mill Creek Park.

One interesting side story in the saga of the Idora Neighborhood has been the land of which the park now sits, owned by a local church. Despite decades of promises for rehabilitation, it remains probably the largest abandoned parking lot in the city.

From the wikipedia entry for Mill Creek Park:
In 1985, Mt. Calvary Pentecostal Church in Youngstown bought the Idora property and announced plans for a religious complex, to be named the "City of God". The Ballroom remained open for various events until Memorial Day 1986. The church lost the property in 1989 after accumulating more than $500,000 in debt on the land. A group of preservationists got Idora Park on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993. This group put together a bid that year to buy the property and restore it, but at the eleventh hour, the church got the property back for a reported $300,000 mortgage.

For the next fifteen years, the church failed to build their religious complex, the property decayed, and it was not secured from outsiders. All remaining structures were not given proper historical preservation and each would eventually be vandalized, destroyed by natural elements, or succumb to arson.

On March 5, 2001 the final chapter to Idora Park's history was written when the historic Idora Ballroom burned down. The fire reportedly started in the basement and was suspicious in nature. The Jack Rabbit and other remaining wooden structures were not destroyed by this fire. On July 26, 2001 the Wild Cat, Jack Rabbit, and all other decaying structures were demolished by bulldozers to prevent any future fires. The property owner (Mount Calvary Pentecostal Church) ordered the demolition without notice in response to safety concerns. Both the Jack Rabbit and Wild Cat roller coasters were listed on the American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) preservation list.

Inaction by the park property owners to preserve the remaining (non-auctioned) Idora Park historic structures—such as the Ballroom, Wild Cat, Jack Rabbit—ultimately led to their destruction.

from this provided history, a question to be answered:

What should now become of the land, and what are the responsibilites of the land owners?

Then later on in the evening, on HBO, the Ghost of Youngstown will be competing for the middleweight boxing championship.

Kelly Pavlik lives and trains on the South Side.

Plenty of well-deserved hype has gone into the fight, including specials on HBO and SportsTime Ohio. You can watch the 30 minute HBO special on YouTube in three parts: part 1, part 2, and part 3.

From today's paper, "Boxer Gets Hometown Sendoff""
YOUNGSTOWN — If boxer Kelly Pavlik could harness the outpouring of love, support and cheers he received from hundreds of his friends, neighbors and fans during his hometown send-off Tuesday night in front of his house on Cornell Street on the South Side, he would pack dynamite in his punches when he challenges Jermain Taylor for the WBC middleweight championship Saturday night. . . .

"I think he will win because he is a very good boy, good with me, polite with people. He never was a bad kid. When he was a boy and came over my house, his favorite food was pizza, and we all would spread out a blanket and have a picnic on the living room floor," recalled Stella.

Neighbor Dove Ross agreed with Stella. "He is wonderful. He is very good to everyone. It is a very close-knit neighborhood. His personality is wonderful. He has a lot of respect for you and is a gentleman. He is a good model for young kids to look up to," she said. . . .

"Kelly goes to our church. That's why we are celebrating today. He is a good Slovak boy and he has a great father and mother. I pick him to win in the 10th round," he [Smercansky] said.

well, to sum it all up, a wise quote from a wise man:


1 comment:

The Stage said...

"he is a good slovak boy"

never underestimate the power of a good slovak boy, or the mighty women behind him ;)