Home Savings Donates $12K to Support Downtown Holiday Lights

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Home Savings Bank donated $12,000 to Youngstown CityScape to support the organization’s annual Sparkle and Evergreen Youngstown project. 

The display involves the installation of more than 50,000 lights in Central Square and Federal Street for the Youngstown Holiday Parade and Christmas Tree Lighting Dec. 6. The display runs through February.

“This is the atmosphere that we need to encourage people to be downtown and want to be downtown,” said Sharon Letson, executive director of CityScape. “This is our hometown bank who is supporting our hometown.” 

Even though the labor to get all of the lights up is costly, receiving the $12,000 from Home Savings makes Letson feel “warm and fuzzy,” which is exactly the way the lights make her feel, she said. 

Home Savings has been involved with the lighting program for six years, said Frank Hierro, Mahoning Valley regional president of Home Savings.  

“It puts our downtown and our city in positive light,” he said. “We’re thrilled with the efforts and the work CityScape does, the increased amount of downtown traffic and citizens utilizing the restaurants, shopping and entertainment venues.” 

With the bank’s headquarters downtown, staff at Home Savings enjoy seeing the activity that comes along with the holiday tradition, Hierro said. The bank has been a long-time supporter of CityScape, he added. 

“The downtown parade is a perfect example,” Hierro said. “[CityScape] got off to a good start when we decided that we wanted to help support any of the high school bands that participate in the parade.” 

Through Home Savings, transportation expenses are covered to get high school students downtown to perform, Hierro said. The bands come from Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties every year, he added. 

“It turns the parade into something special,” he said. “The high schools definitely enjoy the participation and you can just see the excitement on the kids’ faces when they’re walking down the street. It’s a mini Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.” 

Since the tree and lighting display is a $27,000 investment, Home Savings’ support is just a part of the equation, Letson said. 

“The city contributes, CityScape contributes and our supporters contribute along with this big gift from Home Savings,” she said.

This is CityScape’s ninth year of doing the display and they have changed to LED lighting over the years, Letson said. Originally, only four high school bands performed in the parade. This year, 15 local bands are scheduled to perform. Last year, more than 8,000 people were drawn to downtown, Letson added. 

“We’re always looking ahead, but when you’re in the throes of planning a parade and lining everything up, right now we’re really concentrating on that,” she said.

With current assets of approximately $2.9 billion, Home Savings operates 33 banking offices and three wealth management offices in Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Youngstown, Mansfield and Beaver, Pa.

“The ability to display our downtown is such a positive way during the holidays helps promote commerce and getting folks who might not otherwise come downtown to come and enjoy everything it has to offer,” Hierro said. 

Pictured: At the check presentation were Lou Joseph, vice president of real estate and facilities for Home Savings Bank; Sharon Letson, executive director of Youngstown CityScape; Frank Hierro, Mahoning Valley regional president, Home Savings Bank; and Trish Gelsomino, branch manager, Home Savings Bank. 

Copyright 2023 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.