Thursday, July 21, 2011

is double-parking and impeding traffic around 20 Federal Place becoming a safety issue?

Over the past few months, the particular practice of drivers picking up and dropping off call center employees on Federal Street is becoming slightly annoying, and potentially dangerous.

Here is how it works:

Cars normally park diagonally in various free spots surrounding 20 Federal Place, a building now home to various call centers.

Because employees prefer a pickup or drop-off immediately adjacent to the doors of the building, drivers looking to collect or deposit their human cargo double-park (and seen yesterday for the first time, triple-park) along the narrow street.

The result...
Parked cars taking up lanes of space, which other vehicles have to move around throughout the work day. Additionally, after picking up the employees the stopped cars have to re-merge into traffic, which have caused accidents.

check out these photos:

The black car in the above and below photos is actually parked left of the center line, and was observed impeding the flow of traffic in both directions. Also it was too hot for the gent driving the car to sit there, so he was leaning on his vehicle watching the traffic move around him.

One of the issues concerning the downtown is a lack of police presence in the downtown area.

While it is one of the safest parts of the city, normal everyday urban experiences like illegal parking, loitering and begging, littering, and drinking alcohol in public are definitely on the upswing.

Here's a question:
If a police officer was stationed downtown and issued tickets for littering cigarette butts and parking citations (in addition to other essential services), would it be a revenue neutral effort or even a money-maker for the police department?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

first of the new artisan bike racks installed in downtown youngstown

On Monday, downtown bike commuters and restaurant patrons were able to see the first of several hand-crafted bicycle racks that were installed over the weekend.

Future posts will go over the stylings of each artist involved in the overall project.

For the two installed over the weekend, the designs encompass a classical sleek bike design, as well as the black handlebars and wheels forming the graceful "YO" which is often a shorthand for the city's name.

Here is the smaller of the two pieces, which can accommodate at least two bikes.

Going downtown Monday morning, bikes were already attached to the artisan sculptures.


Check em out!

They are there for all to use...take a ride downtown and hitch your bike to them when patronizing our downtown.

Monday, July 18, 2011

2011 "Universal Cafe" Season features Hal Walker

July and August of every summer brings the Universal Cafe to First Unitarian Universalist Church in Youngstown (the location of the northside farmers market)

Monday's event features Hal Walker from Kent, in a program called "Music to Watch"

Programs continue every monday at 6:30pm, and can be found here.

Light food, beverages, wine and beer available.

Friday, July 15, 2011

one Rocky Ridge Resident will win the 2011 Volney Rogers Emerald Pierogi Award

"This park was conceived in his heart,
and realized thru his devotion."

Volney Rogers was a king among men.

Born on December 1st 1846, Mr. Rogers was the founding father of Youngstown's Mill Creek Park - established in 1891 as the first park district in the state of Ohio.

Today, Mill Creek Park and its gorges and waterfalls wind through the neighborhoods of Youngstown, with hundreds and hundreds of houses bordering its sinuous landmass.

Generations of families have enjoyed its trails, its trees, its architecture, and its beauty.

It is with this great history in mind that a new award was created in Volney's honor - an award for the Rocky Ridge Neighborhood, a section of the city surrounded by Mill Creek Park.

presenting the Volney Rogers Emerald Pierogi Award for home beautification:

The Volney Rogers Emerald Pierogi Award will be bestowed upon a resident of the Rocky Ridge Neighborhood in August 2011.

In order to win the award, you must live somewhere on this map:

The application is due July 31 and can be downloaded by clicking on each of the two images below (2 pages of application). Nominating neighbors is allowed!

If you would like a pdf of the application or have more questions about the award, please email [ RockyRidgeNeighbors (at) gmail (dot) com ].

note: Youngstown artist Lynn Cardwell (etsy page here) produced the award at her studio.

from the wikipedia entry for Volney Rogers...
In 1920, less than a year after Volney Rogers' death, Youngstown Mayor Fred J. Warnock presided over the public unveiling of a massive bronze likeness of Rogers that was designed to honor his achievements. Rogers had been alerted to plans for the tribute before his death and was deeply moved.

The Volney Rogers Memorial still stands near the main entrance of Mill Creek Park. At the time of its unveiling, Warnock captured the sentiments of many community residents when he stated:

"We do not erect monuments to selfishness.... We erect monuments to those who live for the community and whose high ideal is the welfare of the many. That is why we are honoring Volney Rogers today."

Thursday, July 14, 2011

it's now been 30 days since the city issued a citation on the vinyl siding - what's the status?

According to this story in the Business-Journal, on June 14 a citation was issued by the City of Youngstown to the owner of 25 West Federal Street.

The reason:
vinyl siding was applied to the facade of the three-story structure without a building permit. Furthermore, the vinyl siding was a material that was rejected by the city's Design and Review Committee.

Due to this double-whammy of installing undesired materials without a permit, the owner of the building had 30 days from the day the citation was issued to correct the situation and install the previously approved materials.

If the building is not improved in 30 days, then every single day afterward, the city is to issue a $100 fine until resolution.

- - -

So now it's been 30 days.

To casual observers on the street, building has not been touched.

Has a fine of $100 been sent?

- - -

here's the facade with the vinyl front:

a zoom-in of the quality of the work around the windows:

a crew was there the weekend of Friday June 10 to put up the vinyl siding:

Nothing personal, just maintain your property as agreed to...

Anyone have an update on the situation?

Saturday, July 09, 2011

a new park in the core of the city, Harrison Common, will open on Saturday

Decades ago, the smell of freshly-baked bread filled the air in the Smoky Hollow neighborhood as residents baked their loafs in a handful of outdoor ovens.

Located just adjacent to the university downtown and its growing footprint, The Hollow's population has changed over the years, and outdoor bread baking disappeared from the landscape.

But now in 2011, that heavenly smell is back.

That's because this weekend, a new park in the core of the city of Youngstown opens and the center of the new "Harrison Common" will feature a community bread oven.

And around the base of the oven there is a variety of fresh herbs planted for use on pizzas or other dishes being cooked.

Let's take a look at some of the other aspects of the new park . . .

In the center of Harrison Common, we see a large decorative pergola.

The pergola was one of the components purchased with the $40,000 gift by the Rotary Club of Youngstown.

It's great to see people in the park late on a weekday evening, as this day a mix of men and women were playing rugby on the big field behind the pergola.

Another great feature of Harrison Park is the large granite map built into the base brick surface showing all of the structures in the Smoky Hollow circa 1920-1940.

All of those previously mentioned outdoor bread ovens are denoted on the stone map with a circle. How many do you count on the map?

If you can make it, the ribbon cutting for official opening of Harrison Common will be at 11:30am on Saturday July 9, which will be lead by Wick Neighbors, Inc.

Kicking off the usage of Harrison Common (besides the rugby players) will be the Youngstown Jazz Fest at 6pm. Held last year downtown, this year the Jazz Festival will be held in the Smoky Hollow. All free, but bring your lawn chairs.

Another great investment project into the core of downtown youngstown!

Kudos to all who participated in its planning and donated to its realization.

Friday, July 08, 2011

the Federal Building is fully rented - before the official opening - a true Youngstown success story

Well, the market is there folks.

All 12 apartments in the newly renovated Federal Building have been rented. This has occurred many weeks - even a month or two - before the official opening.

It shows what happens when a company with reputable leadership do their homework, set proper price points, and pay attention to historical details.

(for example: the sign was saved, fixed, and glows red neon at night)

Never been inside The Federal Building?

let's take a look ...

Designed by the world-famous architect and city planner Daniel Burnham (think Union Station in DC and the layout of Chicago) in 1899, the four-story structure is a significant one in Youngstown's history.

Stepping inside the lobby, we can see an art-deco inspired lobby added at a later date.

The renovated hallways have kept the original wooden doors, and the terrazzo floors shine throughout.

The attention to detail on the lighting and paint colors is a great touch.

The wooden designed railings have been kept, and repainted.

Now, let's step inside one of the units.

First thing you see is the amazing view - just look at the beautiful art deco Metropolitan Tower from the window...

The reddish building on the left is another Burnham building in Youngstown, this one 13 stories tall, but sadly the wonderfully ornate cornice was removed at some point.

However, we can still see the amazing details in the building - a building now over 100 years old itself (and rumored to be a boutique hotel downtown). What a view of the details from these apartments!

Now looking out some additional windows...

And inside the kitchen and living room...

Now going down to the ground floor, to the restaurant level...

Here's the view from the side private room along Phelps Street. Great window views!

The restaurant too has kept some unique details...check out the design.

Mixing the old and the new, here is the tile pattern that will be located in the kitchen and to the bathrooms:

While the Federal Building as a long-term business success still has to be determined, the project has a great start out of the gate.

The attention to detail and respect to the original architecture makes the entire building a gem to walk through.

Add the fact that all of the apartments are rented before the grand opening, the rollout of the renovation is a pretty impressive feat.

Final point: the demand is there, and when the price point and quality match, the tenants line up to live in downtown Youngstown.