YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Despite the pandemic and the region’s economic fluidity, 2021 was a transformation for Youngstown CityScape.
The urban beautification group launched CityScape at Briel’s after purchasing and reimagining the former Briel’s Greenhouse – the last greenhouse in Youngstown.
The project will provide growing space and income streams for three nonprofits, a maker’s mart, and job training for female returning citizens. Ultimately, it will drive the revitalization of the Garden District neighborhood and the Mahoning Avenue commercial corridor, says Sharon M. Letson, executive director.
Seasonal products will be marketed at CityScape at Briel’s, capitalizing on the trend toward locally grown and farm-fresh products, as well as the high regional demand for landscaping and horticultural products.
CityScape at Briel’s will also offer space for events and community education programs. The organization welcomed the community by hosting a mum sale in the fall and a holiday greenery sale in December. Some renovations will be done this winter, with planting to begin and a grand opening set for spring.
Meanwhile, CityScape continues to promote the establishment of a Special Improvement District (SID) downtown. The designation would provide the downtown with a range of investments and services that other Ohio cities have. These include cameras, power washing, landscaping, lighting improvements, and security patrols, as well as façade improvements, litter removal, signage and wayfinding.
Once created, such a SID would let business owners target services and provide funds for the care of the millions of dollars in infrastructure investments downtown through the Smart2 Build grant project.
This year, CityScape is once again supporting downtown businesses and restaurants by offering its Downtown Discount Card ($10). The cards offer discounts for one full year. Users save with frequent visits to merchants. Businesses benefit by increasing visibility, obtaining new customers, and rewarding faithful clients. The cards are available at YoungstownCityScape.org and CityScape offices.
CityScape will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the first Streetscape Day this year and honor Youngstown State University alumni who continue to support its efforts. It also looks forward to more events such as the Night Market on Phelps.
Youngstown CityScape was incorporated as a downtown community development corporation in 2004, with a mission of beautification, education and preservation.
The organization forms strategic partnerships to strengthen Youngstown’s revitalized urban core, connecting downtown with the YSU campus and adjacent neighborhoods and gateways. It has a staff of 10 full- and part-time employees.
Pictured: From left are the previous owners of Briel’s, Frances Briel, George Briel Jr. and George Briel Sr.; Youngtown CityScape Executive Director Sharon Letson, CityScape Board Chairman Scott Schulick, and designer Rita Cecil.