Taft Promise Neighborhood Initiative to Launch Saturday

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Taft Promise Neighborhood will launch a community redevelopment initiative Saturday with a neighborhood clean-up and a block party at Taft Elementary School on the South side.

The Taft Promise Neighborhood is a coalition of organizations working together to stabilize and revitalize the Taft School area. The event, sponsored by TPN partners Mercy Health and Compass Family & Community Services, will introduce the initiative to residents, parents, educators, faith institutions, businesses and community groups.

The day will begin with a volunteer workday at 9 a.m. to clean and beautify the neighborhood around Taft School and paint a mural at Cadman’s Appliance on South Avenue. Neighborhood volunteers also will paint the house of a homeowner in need through a partnership with Operation Paint Brush.

The free block party, which will run from noon to 4 p.m., will feature food, raffles and entertainment by DJ Stan the Man. Activities for children will include bouncy houses, face painting, a storyteller, a chalk walk and free haircuts for kids.

According to initiative  organizers, poverty in the neighborhood has increased nearly threefold since 1990. In 2011, 64% of families with children lived below the poverty line. Other neighborhood challenges include vacant and blighted housing, outdated and inadequate infrastructure and safety concerns.

The goal is to turn Taft Elementary School into a community hub, which will coordinate the programs of more than 50 partner organizations to provide services and resources for students, parents and residents. These include pre-kindergarten readiness, after-school programming, health screenings, access to healthful foods, community gardens, job training, housing repair and civic engagement.

The initiative operates within four councils the separately focus on education, health and wellness, jobs and the economy, and neighborhood. The Taft neighborhood is defined as Indianola Avenue to the north, Midlothian Boulevard to the south, Rush Boulevard to the west and Shady Run road to the east.

Other partners in the initiative include Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp., United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley, YMCA of Youngstown, YWCA of Youngstown, Corporation for National & Community Service, AmeriCorps Vista, Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County, Youngstown State University, the city of Youngstown and South Avenue Area Neighborhood Development Initiative.

Pictured: Taft Elementary School.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.