Youngstown CityScape Launches $4.4M Capital Campaign

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – As it enters its 25th year, Youngstown CityScape is launching a $4.4 million capital campaign to advance its beautification efforts in downtown and surrounding neighborhoods.

The campaign aims to raise $2 million to make improvements to Wick Park, and another $740,000 to launch the Briel’s Greenhouse initiative, which includes growing plants for CityScape projects. CityScape acquired the West Side building last year.

The remaining funds raised by the capital campaign would go to:

• Creating an endowment fund to create financial stability ($450,000).

• Creating a Downtown Strategic Investment Fund that would be used for investment projects ($500,000).

• Purchase of new planters for downtown ($200,000).

• Creation of a Special Improvements District that would pay for installation of lighting and other items, and maintenance ($360,000).

• Continued support of the Downtown Difference Makers group ($150,000).

Scott Schulick, president of CityScape’s board of directors, said the capital campaign has a three- to five-year timeframe. The organization has already raised about 10% of its goal, he said.

A donor who gave $150,000 for the now-scuttled Welsh Congregational Church restoration project has allowed CityScape to keep the money provided it be used as a matching grant, Schulick said.

The massive fundraising effort is a first for the organization.

“In 25 years, CityScape has never had a capital campaign to reach out to the community to grow our organization,” he said, adding that as the group raises its aim, it needs the help of more community members to reach its goals. “As our story continues to unfold, we want you by our side.”

CityScape will soon reach out to foundations and other donors, he said.

The capital campaign was announced this morning at CityScape’s annual Streetscape kick-off meeting in the Ohio One Building, downtown. Streetscape is the group’s annual day of downtown beautification.

Sharon Letson, executive director of CityScape, pointed out that the organization got its start a quarter-century ago by beautifying the area across the street from the building. Through landscaping, lighting, public art and other projects, CityScape seeks to create “a sense of place” for Youngtown, Letson said.

“Each small project is a building block to a bigger change,” she said.

Streetscape will take place June 4. On that day, volunteers will team up to clean, trim, plant flowers and shrubs and place mulch at multiple public sites downtown. Lunch will be catered by downtown and area restaurants under a large tent on East Federal Street.

The event will focus on Central Square, West and East Federal streets, the John Young Memorials, South Avenue Bridge Police Memorial, Mahoning Commons, the B&O Station, the Choffin hillside, City Hall, the Williamson staircase, Wick Park, Harrison Common and Smoky Hollow.

To sign up as a volunteer, go to YoungstownCityscape.org/events. The first 500 registrants will receive a free, limited edition 25th anniversary T-shirt.

Donations are also being accepted for Streetscape at the website.

Letson accepted Streetscape donations from John Lapin, who has been a key volunteer with the group since its inception, and also Community Corrections Association, at Friday’s meeting.

Pictured: In this file photo from August 2021, Sharon Letson, executive director of Youngstown CityScape, stands inside the Briel’s greenhouse.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.