YOUNGSTOWN – Downtown Youngstown was bustling early Saturday morning with volunteers wearing StreetScape Silver Anniversary commemorative t-shirts carrying gardening tools.
In the large Central Square welcome tent, Christine Price and her daughter, Avary, helped hundreds of volunteers register and be assigned to major planting sites around the city. They are from McDonald’s and came to help because they love CityScape’s mission to make Youngstown a great place to live and visit.
The architectural and botanical beauty of Youngstown was easy to see under cloudless periwinkle skies, but CityScape and its entourage of loyal volunteers do more than attend a single day of gardening. Adam Lee, program director of CityScape, explained that StreetScape is just one part of the annual development projects sponsored by the non-profit organization. In fact, Youngstown’s enthusiastic volunteer gardeners tend to the downtown foliage year-round.
Earlier in the year, Executive Director Sharon Letson and her team worked hard to raise funds, purchase supplies, build community partnerships, and register corporate groups and individual volunteers for Planting Day. Fortunately, this year’s event could continue with volunteers as it has for decades after COVID-19 pandemic restrictions put a damper on last year’s workforce plans.
A loyal business group from the Premier Bank of downtown Youngstown gathered near the John Young Memorial to weed out and plant new greens and flowers. Trish Gelsomino said the bank has been supporting StreetScape with teams of volunteer employees for at least 10 years.
She explained how important it is for all downtown businesses to work together for the vitality of the city. Fellow Premier Bank staff Barb Billett and Becky Westover rolled up their sleeves and made room for new flower bulbs in front of the monument.
Just across the street, a large red-capped tribe of Youngstown Parrot Heads club members worked the grounds surrounding the B&O station. Peggy Humes, who organized her large StreetScape 2022 volunteer team, said that the members wore red capes to honor their longtime member and volunteer hero, Jaime Lowther, who passed away in January.
This year’s entry was a special tribute to Lowther, who always wore a red Wonder Woman cape to volunteer at StreetScape events in years past.
As the world deals with recovery and repair, rekindling hope for the future and growth of all kinds, the volunteers of SteetScape of Youngstown are doing their part. And if all goes well in Youngstown this summer, you’ll know exactly who to thank.