Monday, June 30, 2008

recap: cle-yo-pitt regional learning conference

Buses full of people from Pittsburgh and Cleveland arrived at the next nexus of Downtown Youngstown, for the first ever meeting of the cleveland+pittsburgh+youngstown Regional Learning Network.

The day began with a welcome by representatives from all three cities, then onto John Austin's keynote address about "Leveraging the Assets and Confronting the Challenges of the Great Lakes Region".

To read Valley24's review of the day, click here.

One of the benefits of the meeting was the ability for individuals to interact with their counterparts from each region - bloggers met other bloggers, economic development professionals met other economic development professionals, and neighborhood leaders met other neighborhood leaders.

Right before lunch, a World Cafe took place to discuss the factors which make the mega-region unique.

Mayor Williams stopped by to chat for a while:

And after lunch, participants moved throughout the Youngstown Club to attend presentations on the following topics:
  • Data-Driven Decision Making
  • CDCs as Agents of Change
  • Addressing Vacancy
  • Economic Development Strategies
  • Designing Sustainable Communities
  • Networking and Blogging for Change

Here's an example of multiple design configurations possible when a vacant property exists between other properties.

To encourage collaboration between cities, mini-grants of up to $500 will be given out to encourage "learning exchanges" where people from one location will go and visit others to learn best practices and witness active programs.

To all who attended, thanks for making the trip to Youngstown. And a special thanks to our new friends who took the youngstown bloggers up on the offer to do a walking tour of the downtown.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

recap: 2nd wick park planning meeting + G2G info

Immediately after the celebration of Youngstown Tree Day, another event took place: the 2nd public planning meeting concerning the future of Wick Park.

Click here for a recap from the Youngstown Vindicator.

Between 50 to 60 people were at the meeting at Park Vista. (click here and here for a review of the first one and how this is the new standard)

The interim director of the city’s parks and recreation department discussed how even before the final design plan is determined, changes are taking place in the park bit by bit.

The water element/fountain in the park's southeast entrance will be repaired and functioning soon. And as pointed out in the newspaper story, the four corners of the park have been landscaped with flowers during the recent CityScape event.

A presentation by Jim McKnight, a landscape architect out of Cleveland, presented a quick walking tour highlighting possible design improvements including:
"making the front of the community center more defined for first-time visitors; spreading seating throughout; removing some unsightly barriers and guardrails; finding a more discreet location for trash bins; and redesigning a play area to make it easier for parents to supervise their youngsters." (

Two groups were then formed as the audience took turns drawing on maps and adding their suggestions.

Additionally, Wick Park will be the home to Youngstown's first ever "Grey to Green Festival" on September 13th, 2008.

Click on the next two images to read more information about the festival concept and sponsorship opportunities.

The goal of the Grey to Green Festival is to increase awareness of environmental issues in general, the grey-to-green concept in the Youngstown 2010 Plan, and the Wick Park revitalization effort that is currently underway.

The Grey to Green Festival organizing coalition includes The Green Team, Youngstown Litter Control, Defend Youngstown, CityScape, ReCreate, Treez Please, Grow Youngstown, First Book Mahoning Valley, the Oakland Center for the Arts, Green Energy TV, Art Youngstown, the Wick Park Revitalization Committee, The City of Youngstown’s Planning Department, Youngstown State University’s Environmental Studies Society, faculty and staff from YSU, as well as concerned citizens, block watches, and youth groups.

Throughout the park, there will be workshops, displays, demonstrations, musical entertainment, and food and “green” merchandise vendors.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

recap: youngstown tree day

The first day of summer also brings the celebration of Youngstown Tree Day.

This year's event officially recognized Youngstown's status as a Tree City USA, and also served as an introduction to the city's new tree population monitoring program.

The display below includes the proclamation by Mayor Williams for June 21st to be Youngstown Tree Day.

Let's take a close-up look at that cake. Nice work!

(note: by edict, cupcakes were limited to one per guest)

Speaking to the crowd in Wick Park was the Chief City Planner.

To signify its designation, the official "Tree City USA" flag was raised - to be flown continually in the skies above the North Side.

Next is an image of the PDAs which will be used to inventory the city's trees this summer, block by block, through the i-Tree program.

The survey sampling will be performed by the City of Youngstown's Forester, along with a team of community volunteers.

The inventory will be used to assess the costs and strategies for urban tree management, and their impact on the environment and property value improvement.

Check out the flag off of Park Avenue as you are exploring Wick Park.

recap: nsf director in youngstown

Dr. Arden Bement, Director of the National Science Foundation - a federal agency with an annual budget of some $6 billion and change - was on campus in downtown youngstown Monday.

His first public visit of the day was a short speech in Moser Hall to about 40 industry, academic, and community leaders. The level of questioning in the room was excellent.

This was followed by a presentation to about 150 students, YSU faculty and staff by Dr. Bement, with words of encouragement to the researchers on campus by Rep. Tim Ryan.

Dr. Bement then walked though a poster session with undergraduate and graduate researchers.

And finally, the ribbon was cut on the new Analytical Materials Instrumentation Center at YSU - constructed with funds from the NSF.

media recaps here and here.

UPDATE: Ohio's Third Frontier program just announced a $2.1 million grant to YSU to build the Center for Excellence in Advanced Materials Analyses.

Through a partnership with Youngstown-based Fireline TCON (in the Smoky-Hollow neighborhood) and the Ohio Supercomputer Center, the project will focus on the R&D and commercialization of products with increased resistance to thermal shock and lower thermal conductivity to improve liquid aluminum-resistant refractory materials for use during molten metal handling, melt treatment and castings.

Selma Diamond, eat your heart out.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

the next nexus = downtown youngstown

what does the cle+yo+pitt conference, the i-tree demonstration, the soap box derby, the furthermind festival, and the head of the entire national science foundation (NSF) have in common?

well . . .

- - -

downtown youngstown is the central meeting point of the Cleveland-Youngstown-Pittsburgh region, home to 7.5 million people strong.

In Youngstown, we are fluent in both Pittsburghese AND Clevelandish.

We eat Primantis AND Paninis.

We follow Penguins' hockey AND Cavaliers' basketball.

We drink Iron City AND Great Lakes.

- - -

Youngstown is not just a place for the 700,000 people of the Mahoning and Shenango Valleys to enjoy, but our restaurants and traditions are available for all 7.5 million of yous/yinz.

and so, the Shout Youngstown blog is going to pick out a few choice events taking place this weekend in the next nexus of downtown youngstown - if by chance you are looking for something to do.

friday - Cle+Yo+Pitt Regional Learning Network conference - discuss best practices and approaches to neighborhood development, urban design, economic development, and blogging in the mega-region (10am - 4pm at the Club)

saturday - Soap Box Derby down 5th avenue (9am)

saturday - Youngstown Tree Day Celebration, including a demonstration of the i-tree urban inventory system by the Youngstown City Forester, Wick Park at Park and Pennsylvania Ave (9:30am)

saturday - Wick Park Revitalization Community Meeting #2 at Park Vista off 5th avenue (10am)

saturday - city pools open, party at North Side's new pool (12pm)

- furthermind all-day music festival at the B&O train station and urban camping (12pm to 2am)

sunday - yoga at fellows riverside gardens (9am, 12pm)

sunday - tour of western reserve wildflowers at fellows riverside gardens (2pm)

monday - presentation by the director of the federal NSF (yes, that $6 billion agency) at YSU's engineering building. must rsvp with jmsmith (at) ybi (dot) org. more info here.

- - -
“We’re trying, as I like to say, to further everyone’s mind,” he said, “I want to bridge the gap and have Cleveland bands and Pittsburgh bands — make the Youngstown area a little bit bigger.”

This will be the first Furthermind Festival since 1999 and the first one for the Youngstown area. Though its focus will be mainly on the music, it will also serve as loving tribute to Quillan’s father, David Michael Murphy.

Quillan said his father became ill shortly after Vexfest IV in August and worsened in the coming months.

“One side of his body was shutting down, he couldn’t move his leg,” Quillan said, “In October, he needed a cane to walk and then he fell and broke his hip. He was in the hospital from October to December, when he passed away.”

While his father was in the hospital, Quillan said he wanted to have a giant celebration for when got better.

Having his father’s favorite local bands in mind, such as headliner Pennsylvania rock band Fourth River, Quillan began preparing for the event in November.

With his father’s death from the rare and highly fatal Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a degenerative brain disorder, Quillan said this would be the event his father would want to go to.

“It’s a festival in honor of him and his love of independent music,” he said, “I’m Irish, so I think of this as a wake for him.”
more from valley24 here.

stambaugh building: week 3: thursday

It's been two weeks since most of the windows have been taken out of the Stambaugh Building.

and the forecast?

rain, rain, and more rain.

- - -

A few audio files to listen to:

From last week, more discussion on the Dan Rivers' Show - especially about the opinions of those coming downtown for the sold-out Carrie Underwood concert at the Chevy Center.

Stambaugh talk begins 2/3 though the clip here.
and continues for the rest of the hour here.

On Monday, Mr. Frangos himself had an interview on the radio. You can listen to his perspectives for 45 minutes here.

And also from Monday, Metro Monthly publisher Mark Peyko discusses the Stambaugh Building, pictures of Idora Park, and downtown walking tours here. (mark starts halfway though mp3 file)

Speaking of Metro's walking tours, pictures of the recent June event is here, and the next one has been announced for Thursday, July 17th at 7pm downtown.

and we conclude today with a very interesting article on the collective psychology of the Mahoning Valley from a clinical psychologist here.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I hear the davis is really humming now

No more borrowed nostalgia for the 1980s.

I was there in 2008, touring the davis building, working on the organ sounds.

I was there, playing daft punk. all the modern lovers hits.

everyone thought it was crazy.

- - -

and now some more of the up front marble is cleaned up.

the steps are painted, the handrails are installed.

furniture is being placed inside the architecture studio.

the bookshelves are being prepped,

for its close-up.

The textures and colors on this wall are jenky cool.

here is un otre.

then emerging onto the shuffleboard court on the 3rd floor.

other than the glass block, the shower space is great.

looking off the edge of the roof deck.

with a spin-around pan=o=ramic view.

with foliage growing on the roof of the Agora.

eurotrash washer and dryer.

and nifty appliances with that modern look.

this is the coolest replicator/oven I have ever seen.

"turkey breast boneless" indeed.

losing my edge.

Monday, June 16, 2008

the people in the neighborhood

Jess Adkins is happy and currently living in Youngstown, Ohio.

- - -

In 1981, Jess was thrown off a hill and landed in Kentucky.
In 1990, Jess learned how to dance like M.C. Hammer.
In 2003, Jess begins carving while living in a hunting cabin.
In 2008, Jess displays some of his work in a gallery downtown.

Readers of Shout Youngstown first saw a glimpse of Jess' work from a review of the Stage at the Oakland in November 2007.

More recently, a downtown gallery displayed Jess' woodcarvings of the characters he remembers from his neighborhood growing up on the south side of youngstown in Lansingville. In his words:

From a description by the artist:
"I am interested in learning more about our story, your story, and even my own story in the process of creating work.

In the neighborhood I am trying to recall all of those individuals who lived in my childhood neighborhood, only from memories and stories.

What dissolves over time or who are recalled act as mental landmarks for an ever-changing world. What remains and what fades away."

from the opening reception:

additionally, be on the lookout for Jess' next project, the life-sized (to be unveiled)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

over 500 strong at streetscape 2008

I've officially been deputized as a member of the Johnny Appleseed Garden Club.

It happened last Saturday at the annual streetscape event coordinated by the Youngstown Cityscape organization.

Now in its 11th year, over 500 people came together over the weekend to clean, mulch, and plant in designated locations throughout the city. Here's a pictorial review:

The central square was the main meeting point, with the gold flowers planted around the civil war momument celebrating the 50th anniversary of Fellows Riverside Gardens in Mill Creek Park.

The red and white flowers planted all throughout downtown commemorate the 100th anniversary of Youngstown University.

Here's some folks cleaning up the medians in front of Turning Technologies' new signage on their headquarters.

The ladies who deputized me were working at the foot of the Mr. Peanut bridge, near the site where John Young, James Hillman and Daniel Shehy was set to have met on June 27, 1796 at the time of the founding of Youngstown.

Here's the back of the t-shirt that was distributed to the volunteers:

and the front:

The trolley was shuttling people from the various points to the central square during the day.

Overall, 42 sites in the downtown, north side, and south side were visited by volunteers.

And finally, lunch was served with food donated with downtown merchants and others - including burgers served on Schewbel's bread, of course.

Finally, here are two videos of the entertainment while everyone was having their lunch.

see you in 2009.