Designs for Pocket Park, Lighting for Viaduct OK’d

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Youngstown Design Review Committee approved proposals Tuesday for two of the five installations funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The committee, at its monthly meeting, approved the design for the Wedge at Hazel Hill, a pocket park to consist of a rain garden, a stage, placemaking art and signage, and a revised design for decorative lighting of an abandoned railway viaduct over Mahoning Avenue.

Last year, NEA, through its Innovative Plan for Leveraging Arts Through Community Engagement – or Inplace — program provided a $100,000 grant to Youngstown State University. The five installations – each allocated $20,000 — were chosen from among 15 proposals submitted.

The pocket park won the green infrastructure category, said Annissa Neider, an architect with MS Consultants, Youngstown. Neider is one of two MS employees – along with Courtney Boyle, senior environmental project manager — who donated their services to the project.

The park will be on property next to the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor. It will collect runoff from Wood Street and channel it to the rain garden.

Signage on the site will tell how the rain garden is improving the space and provide information on the Inplace project, Boyle said. Another sign will address the role of the Mahoning River in supporting the steel industry and the future of the river,  Neider said, and she and Boyle are working with the museum on that.

Another aspect of the project, a small performance stage, will create “a destination” for small community events, Neider said.

“We’re reaching out to a lot of potential partners right now, YSU being one,” Boyle said. Potential activities include yoga in the park and other wellness programs, she said, and Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley has agreed to stage public health events.

“So we’re trying to have that education and performance arts aspect,” she continued.

“It’s already catching interest,” Neider said.

A contractor will be secured and materials purchased in April, excavation and construction to get underway in May, according to a timeline presented at a public event last week. Work is slated for completion by the end of June.

The committee also approved the revised design for the Mahoning Avenue railroad viaduct.

David Tamulonis, who spearheaded the project along with Ian Beniston and Eric Carlson, outlined changes to the design since the committee met last month. Members asked him to explore changes in the lighting, including a solar power supply.

Instead of LED lighting directed straight down from the top interior of the viaduct, hanging from airline cable, the lights will be mounted on the top to diffuse on the sides of the walls, Tamulonis said. Joe Dickey Electric will hang the lights inside and on the exterior of the viaduct, and coordinate with Ohio Edison to establish a power connection.

According to Tamulonis, Dickey said using a solar array would be “cost-prohibitive.” There also was a concern about vandalism should solar panels be used, he said.

Last month, the committee approved the design of a third Inplace project, “Solar Screen,” a curved wall composed of 3-D printed ceramic bricks on the lawn next to 107 Vindicator Square. A fourth, a shipping container bus was also approved by the committee who directed an alternative site instead of in front of the Mahoning County Courthouse.

The fifth Inplace project, a shadow art project by Valley Christian School’s Lewis School for Gifted Learning, is yet to come before the committee.

Pictured: Rendering of the Wedge Park.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.