‘The Real Stemulus’ Plants Red, White and Blue Across City

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Teams of volunteers spread out over 50 worksites – downtown and in the neighborhoods – joined forces Saturday for Streetscape, this year dubbed “The Real Stemulus.”

And what a stimulus it was, an “awakening after the last year that we all experienced,” observed Mary Gresh, a volunteer from Austintown.

The annual flower planting and cleanup event, sponsored by the CityScape nonprofit, could not be held in 2020 because of the pandemic. The year, the 24th Streetscape, brought out more than 450 volunteers on a sunny day filled with hope.

“Everyone had a smile on their face. Everyone was happy to see people they had not seen in some time and work together in teams. That’s a big difference form where we all were a year ago,” said Scott Schulick, president of CityScape and vice president, investments, at Stifel Nicolaus.

“It’s a perfect day, a great day. We’re getting all kinds of things done,” added Sharon Letson, executive director of CityScape. “Everything is going to get cleaned up downtown.”

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Some 100 donors contributed $30,000 to fund “The Real Stemulus.” CityScape purchased 100 yards of mulch and truckloads of plants, which city street department workers distributed to designated sites.

By afternoon hundreds of flowers – all red, white and blue – had been planted, city workers had “watered them all in,” Letson said, cleaned the municipal garbage cans and sprayed downtown sidewalks.

“It’s important for a lot of reasons this year,” said Peter Asimakopoulos, past president of CityScape and Youngstown market president for First National Bank. “It’s getting back to some normalcy, getting back to a routine, getting people back to downtown Youngstown.”

Outside of downtown, more than 25 neighborhood groups also participated in “The Real Stemulus,” the most neighborhood participation ever, according to Letson.

“It’s not just downtown now,” said Mayor Jamael Tito Brown. “It’s expanding into the neighborhoods and the neighborhoods are [saying], ‘We know what we want our neighborhoods to look like. Just give us the shovels and the mulch and we’ll do it.’ “

Pictured at top: Mayor Jamael Tito Brown and Sharon Letson, executive director of CityScape.

George Nelson contributed reporting and photos for this story.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.