For so much of it's history, Youngstown was caked in black soot. In 1915, socialist leader Frank Bohn stated that, "Everybody breathing dirt, eating dirt-they call it "pay dirt," for Youngstown clean would be Youngstown out of work." In an exciting announcement, there is a new partnership to take Youngstown from the black coal and brown fields to a green community. Today in Copenhagen, while world leaders meet to craft plans to combat global warming, Youngstown and Global Green USA, a U.S. environmental nonprofit announced a partnership to advance sustainable, ‘green’ city goals.
Present for the announcement included U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-17) and Global Green USA CEO and President Matt Petersen. Along with Mayor Jay Williams, who was in Youngstown, they announced that this partnership will initiate a global design competition to create green jobs and sustainable development in Youngstown. By building on the successful Youngstown 2010 planning process and implementing a citywide and neighborhood-specific ‘greening’ plan, Youngstown can become a model ‘green’ city for the rest of the Midwest.
The project will complement the over $7.6 million in federal money that has been secured in for green energy related projects in the Mahoning Valley, including the Warren Technology and Business Center for Energy Sustainability, the YSU Center for Advanced Automotive Fuels Research, Development and Commercialization, and the YSU Center for Efficiency in Sustainable Energy.
The goals of Global Green’s Youngstown project are:
- To create a Climate Action and Sustainable City Plan, beginning with the implementation of key aspects of the U.S. Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement and strategies that build on the Youngstown 2010 plan, all which can be implemented in the near- to mid-term to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet sustainability goals;
- To create a Neighborhood-Specific Plan for one neighborhood on Youngstown’s south side that currently suffers from devastating levels of blight, with many blocks left virtually empty;
- To generate provocative and creative ideas through a design competition that will bring national attention and resources to the project, along with actionable contributions (i.e., planning, design and policy) for the neighborhood specific planning and design;
- To establish measurable indicators of progress, documenting model policies and best practices that will be shared with regional and national decision makers;
- To leverage existing investments and secure firm commitments from local and regional funders, as well as a congressional appropriation, to fund capital costs associated with citywide and neighborhood-specific plan implementation; and
- To create a regional framework of ideas and next steps that will identify how the ‘greening’ of Youngstown can influence the ‘greening’ of the Rust Belt, and more immediately, be a key factor in the greening of the Pittsburgh-Cleveland Tech Belt corridor.
Former Youngstown resident and Applied Systems and Technology Transfer (AST2) president Jack Scott has already invested $25,000 into the project; a figure which has been matched locally by the Raymond John Wean Foundation.
Dave Skolnick has an article on Vindy.com.