Wednesday, May 30, 2007

the 3rd coolest thing I have seen on the internets

A buddy of mine at work showed me this cool website today: Hindsight.

It combines hybrid maps of America with information about housing construction to create an animated display of the growth in a region.

Here is an example with the San Jose metro area:

It reminds me of a fireworks show, celebrating in our case "no-growth sprawl".

You can jump to the map of the Youngstown region and all of NEO here and here.

Here is a screen shot of the animation, highlighting 1917. The dots in powder blue mark the constuction of homes in this period. From Warren, though Niles, Girard, Youngstown, East Youngstown, and onto Struthers, one can see how the growth just follows the river all the way through the Mahoning Valley.

And in the 1950s and 1960s, waves of construction just spreads out from the density near the river.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

remembering The Little Steel Strike of 1937

On Wednesday, may 30th at 10am will be a ceremony at the Steel Museum downtown where a marker commemorating the Little Steel Strike of 1937 will be reinstalled. This week marked the 70th anniversary of the event.

The marker was orginally installed in 1985 in the pedestrian section of Federal Plaza, but when the area was reopened to traffic a few years ago, the marker disappeared. It will now be placed in front of the Segal sculpture, "The Steelworkers", just across the street from the Cathedral downtown.

When the Steelworkers Organizing Committee formed in 1936, U.S. Steel agreed to negotiate a union contract, but Republic and Youngstown Sheet & Tube refused. Workers went on strike against these “little” steel companies, here in Youngstown and in South Chicago. That Memorial Day, when hundreds of striking workers and their wives and children marched from a rally to the plant gates at the Republic Steel plant in South Chicago, guards shot into the crowd. 10 striking workers were killed and many others, including women and children, were injured that day.

A month later, more violence broke out here in Youngstown, and two workers were killed.

Speaking at the event will be:

  • Sherry Linkon & John Russo, YSU Center for Working Class Studies
  • Gary Steinback, Steelworkers Union
  • Jay Williams, Mayor of Youngstown

Here is a piece by William Gropper, which hangs in the Butler Art Museum, named "Youngstown Strike" (1937):

Saturday, May 26, 2007

one week till streetscape 2007

A week from today, on Saturday June 2nd will be Streetscape 2007, a chance for all you guerrila gardners and lovers of Youngstown to get out there, get some exercise, and make the downtown a better place.

The 10th annual installment of the event will occur from 8am to noon, and all volunteers will be meeting at the terra cotta Strouss' Building, er Kaufmann's, er Phar-Mor Building, er 20 Federal Place.

By signing up here, you can join the hundreds of your fellow citizens who have already committed their time. But every individual hand can pitch in and make a difference.

priority areas for 2007 include:

  • Flower beds and pots along W. Federal Street and W. Federal Street center median.
  • The oval historic monument in the middle of Market Street/Wick Avenue.
  • "The Garden Bunker" on the corner of Boardman and Champion Street.
  • The stairway that connects Wood Street to Commerce.
  • The John Young Memorials at Oak Hill and Spring Common.
  • "Gateways" into downtown.
  • Fall bulb planting.
  • Smoky Hollow Memorial maintenance and expansion.
  • Hillside between Wood & Commerce Streets maintenance (below Choffin)
  • Enhancement of landscape on Walnut Street, Wood Street, and City Hall.

maybe you will make some new friends. maybe you will meet local bloggers and celebrities.

maybe you will make a difference.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

turning grocery stores into centers of knowledge

The adaptive reuse of buildings is a way for the cities in Northeast Ohio to maintain competitive and sustainable neighborhoods. But how should it be done?

We can see this debate in Cleveland, where the community is struggling to figure out what to do with the Breuer building.

In Youngstown we have these same struggles with empty buildings, but handful of recent projects is illustrating that this city is pushing forward with new life for old structures.

An exciting project was announced this week by the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County. It's the $4.6 million renovation of a long abandoned big-box grocery store, which will be completely redesigned into the new 24,000 sq. ft. Southside library.

The creators of the structure, a partnership of Ronald Cornell Faniro Architects of Youngstown and Meehan Architects of Cleveland, are ripping apart the building and incorporating windows at various angles on five sides, permeating the new library with light.

The building will sit at the intersection of Market and Midlothian, an entry point into both Youngstown and Boardman. This project has been called a community center with a library, which will have separate rooms for local organizations to gather. There will be plenty of computers and free wi-fi throughout, a separate space for pre-literacy programs for babies less than 5 years old, a cafe, and books of course. Here is a floorplan of the library.

The design charettes included a separate opinion gathering process for local teenagers, and is one of the signature projects mentioned in the Youngstown 2010 land-use plan.

Instead of the current setup of a monotonous surface of parking and concrete, the space in front of the building will be transformed into a mix of pedestrain walkways and greenspace. When finished next year, library users can walk to such Youngstown institutions as the original Handel's Ice Cream Stand (now 62 years old, and in 32 locations including in Virginia and California) and Scarcella's Italian Restaurant with their homemade spaghetti and meatballs.

In fact, on the Youngstown 2010 site, the Handel's Neighborhood was recently profiled, where you can view a powerpoint featuring homes in the neighborhood and the amenities in walking distance. You can access the profile here.

You can find the website for the library's project here, and a radio show inteview about the project here.

Also referenced on the show was a new media campaign by the Library showcasing various individuals from Youngstown showing their love of reading. They posters are great, and feature a cross-section of the people of Youngstown. Each of the 19 posters can be seen here.

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After years of disinvestment, it is nice to see our neighborhoods fighting back.

Kudos to those who have stayed, and kudos to those who continue to see value in the city.

And to all those in Northeast Ohio and Western Pennsylvania, come give our library system and city and visit.

Friday, May 18, 2007

batboy loose in youngstown

The beast has been captured and is being held in captivity - alone in a cage in downtown youngstown.

You can see this thing - half boy and half bat - in the window of the Oakland from 6am to noon on Friday. [220 west boardman street, downtown in the Yo.]

They found him in a cave in Mill Creek Park near the witches' rocks across from the silver bridge.

Then throughout the next two weekends, the batboy will be starring in a musical at the Oakland on May 18, 19, 25, 26 at 8PM, and May 20 at 2pm.

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Seriously, I saw it last weekend and it's great. You can find a review in the local papers here and here.

funny. good singing. great costumes. prosthetics. animal copulation.

Well Cleveland bloggers, you missed the boat on the kickball. Here is a jersey from one of the teams this year.

So instead of crying all the time how you miss the fun in Youngstown, why don't some of you in the "cleveland+ region" jump in the car and visit your brethren.

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back to the show, here's a photo of the opening scene being filmed by some director in Mill Creek Park.

And here's some short video clips from the show...

This is what a revival in Youngstown usually looks like:

This next scene was ephing awesome. Complete with beasts in heat engaged in a choreographed number. and a satyr. This scene was worth the price of the ticket alone.

And another quick shot of the cast:

Finally, some fun backstage with props:

and in a scene that only can be called Reaganesque:

ah, putain. la vache folle. word.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Art of Steel Tour: Public Art and Local History

Attention residents, historians, and bloggers from the CLE-yo-PIT belt . . .

. . . or should I just say Youngstown+ ?

Next Saturday, May 12, the Center for Working-Class Studies at YSU will offer a half-day tour of public art in the Mahoning Valley. The steelmaking history of the region can still be seen on the local landscape, not only in the remaining mills but also in a wide variety of sculptures, murals, stained glass windows, and other works of art.

Dr. Sherry Linkon, Co-Director of the CWCS and co-author of Steeltown USA: Work and Memory in Youngstown, will lead the tour. Participants will visit several sites near downtown Youngstown, including:

  • St. John’s Episcopal Church (including their amazing stained glass windows)
  • the Youngstown Historical Center of History and Labor (designed by architect Michael Graves)
  • YSU’s Bliss Hall, where local sculptor and Art professor Greg Moring will discuss his latest project – a set of sculptural gates representing the community’s history.
  • “Steelworker,” a 20-foot sculpture built by former steelworker and artist Sidney Rackoff and the workers at Niles Iron and Metal.

“Youngstown has an impressive and significant collection of public art, most of it based on the community’s history,” says Linkon, “But many people don’t even know it’s there. We want to make that work visible, because we think it’s one of the key assets of this area. It’s also a good way to learn about the community’s history.”

The tour is open to anyone with an interest in local history, art, or just seeing the community from a different perspective.

The cost for the tour is $10, and the tour will start at 9am, going to around noon. Transportation from site to site will be provided. (road trip!) To register, call Patty LaPresta, 330-941-2978, by Tuesday May 8th.