Winter has finally arrived in Youngstown, Ohio. And I mean, with a vengeance! Since this morning, we’ve accululated almost 2″, with another 2-3″ expected overnight. It’s coming down hard outside. Really hard.
Well, I wanted snow, and bygolly I got snow! :hatwave:
Beginning in January, I’ll be the new president of our neighborhood group, Cochran Park Neighbors.
I’m looking forward to this! I have quite a few ideas that I hope the group goes along with, like building a community garden/park on a piece of vacant land where a house was demolished, starting a Citizens on Patrol (C.O.P.) group, and more.
We shall see how it goes. :smart:
I confess – I live on the south side of Youngstown, Ohio.
Why do I call that a confession? Because if you’ve ever heard of Youngstown, Ohio, you’d know that while it used to be famous for its industry, steel mills, and manufacturing “back in the day”, today it has a reputation for its high crime rate and poverty. This is improving, no doubt, but very slowly. The south side of the city seems to have the worst reputation of any of the other areas, and I have to admit, it has earned that reputation, unfortunately.
The downtown area of Youngstown has been, over the past couple of years, experiencing a revitalization. Buildings are being purchased and renovated into offices, apartments, restaurants, live entertainment venues, and retail stores. The streets are being beautified with gardens, benches, lovely lamp posts, and we have the famed Covelli Centre, which has drawn many famous entertainers, sports, etc. Yes the downtown area is experiencing a great revitalization.
It’s time to share.
I want that revitalization to spread out into the neighborhoods where it is really needed. The surrounding neighborhoods – the north, east, west, and south sides of Youngstown are riddled with crime – shootings, murders, robberies, assaults, rapes, etc. There are vacant houses that people have abandoned to foreclosure just to get out of here, the banks don’t keep them up, and the houses get taken over by gangs, drug dealers, etc. People are afraid to go out of their homes at night, to walk down their streets, to sit on their own porches. Something has to be done!
Granted, the powers-that-be have been trying, bless their hearts. Mayor Sammarone and Police Chief Foley are working very hard, listening to our concerns, bringing in new officers, meeting with neighborhood leaders, pushing to clean up neighborhoods and drive out crime, and more. And we have alot of neighborhood associations and block watch groups who are working in their own neighborhoods, as well as working together. Things like boarding up the abandoned houses, cutting the yards, planting gardens and trees, etc, in an effort to beautify our areas. All of this helps to deter crime, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.
Here are some things that can be done to help in my area of the south side. Small things, but still…….
South Avenue is a main artery running in and out of downtown. There are so many abandoned buildings which used to be thriving restaurants, offices, retail stores, etc. Very few businesses left. I SO want to see South Avenue thriving once again. But in order to lure professionals back to South Avenue we have to get cut the crime rate! Who commits most crimes in neighborhoods? IMO (no I don’t have any facts or stats to back up my statement), it is kids / teens. So, do we just throw them all in juvie? NO! In my opinion, you need to snap them up early and turn them around. How to do that, you may ask? GLAD you asked!
There is a vacant Christian Martial Arts building on South Avenue. I would love to see someone invest in this building, renovate it, and re-open it as a youth center, a “hang-out” for kids after school. Put a pool table in there, along with a ping-pong table, a couple of pinball machines, a Wii or XBox, and a large screen TV, an area dedicated to homework and earned computer time… a few volunteers and a security officer and there you go. You think I’m over-simplifying it? I’ve SEEN it work. It’s not as hard as everyone wants to make it. You just have to be dedicated and in it for the long haul. If we can find a martial arts instructor who is willing to donate his/her time after school, or evening, or weekends, all the better. Martial arts is a fantastic – and proven – way to get kids off the streets, and to deter crime among the young. Martial arts teaches respect, discipline, self-control, focus, and many other things. It WORKS.
So to all you non-profits out there, I’ve just handed you your big chance to make a REAL difference. Let’s see if anyone’s willing to take up the challenge.
Next, as I said above, there are many abandoned store fronts and restaurants along South Avenue. One of them is going to be mine within the next 1-2 years. I plan to either purchase or lease a building or (preferably) former restaurant, renovate it, and re-open it as a cafe’. Nothing fancy, just serving breakfast (coffee and juice, donuts, pastries, muffins) and lunch (coffee, water, juice, can/bottled soda, sandwiches, panini’s, salads, and my mama’s YUMMY homemade chicken noodle soup), free wi-fi, and maybe a TV on the wall in the corner to watch the game (for people who don’t need to drink alcohol to watch a game. ) I’ll need funding, equipment, stools, counters, tables and chairs, etc. While it’s always been my dream to own a small cafe’, I’m really determined to make it happen now. While each and every person who lives on the south side can – and should be – a part of the revitalization of the south side, my cafe’ will be part of the South Avenue corridor revitalization – something that I am determined WILL happen.
This is it for now, but I reserve the right to add to this post. Hey it’s my blog, and I have a lot to say! :smart:
So when, a few months ago, I was bored and wanting something to do – I had no idea what was coming!
Suddenly, I’ve been elected to be PTST president at my sons’ school, Summit Academy; and this past week I was elected to be our neighborhood group, Cochran Park Neighbors’ president! I am about to be very, very, busy! :yay:
First thing’s first. For the school, I’m getting parent volunteers together, and we’re planning a basket raffle fundraiser. I’ve secured quite a few donations from local businesses – a huge Avon basket from a local dealer – full of family items, not just feminine items; a donation from Camelot Lanes for an adult bowling party for 10, which will include the shoes, balls, lanes, snacks, etc (a value of over $100!); a nice basket from a local Mary Kay dealer; a movie night basket from another local neighborhood group; 2 passes to the Youngstown New Years Eve bash, and a few other things. We’ll start selling tickets after Thanksgiving, and announce the winners at their Christmas concert. Exciting! Quite a few other things coming up, too, that are in the works.
I don’t start as CPN president til January, then I’m off an running on that, too. Like I said, busy busy! :smart:
It’s been a little while since I’ve posted anything. It’s certainly not because there’s a lack of activity around me, that’s for sure. :rolleyes:
The neighborhood that I live in is pretty unsettled at this point in time, but God has been, is, and will be, our Protector.
My sons’ dad is starting a C.O.P. group (Citizens on Patrol) here in my neighborhood. He has quite a few volunteers and is busy rounding up more. I’m involved in several things like a Vacant Property committee, the neighborhood association for this section of the city, and there’s a chance I may be voted in as prez of my neighborhood blockwatch. I’d really like to do that, as I can see us being able to make a difference here in our little neck of the woods.
On a really GOOD note, if you see that widget in the side column of my site here, that says Idora Tilapia, they hot their goal of $5,000! :yay: Hopefully by this time next year, we will be having homegrown tilapia for dinner. I can hardly wait!
We have a meeting of parents/teachers/kids at my sons’ school this coming Thursday. The school was awarded a grant, and all of the kids are getting a netbook to bring home. They will be loaded with educational programs and monitored from the school while at home. They’ll also be loaded daily with things like spelling words to study, etc. I’m very excited that the kids at Summit Academy will have this opportunity. I may be getting involved in the PTA in a leadership position as well. The principal asked me about it. We’ll see….
SO as you can see, LOTS of stuff happening!