Thursday, December 17, 2009

Going green in Youngstown

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


Anonymous said...

So what does that mean in plain simple language? What is a "Climate Action and Sustainable City Plan", and how is it going to decrease water vapor, or do these people still think that CO2 is a greenhouse gas?

How do you "green" an area? I think we are way ahead of the curve on this one. Since there is very little sprawl in this area, very few housing starts and little to no manufacturing going on, we are very green in the sense that Youngstown is not using vast amounts of resources. Those vacant city blocks are something to be proud of, and will revert to nature on their own without the expenditure of Federal dollars.

7.6 Million dollars could be better spent providing police protection in the Mahoning Valley. That should be everyone's priority. If private property cannot be protected then all that is accomplished will be for naught. Police protection is one of the vital core services of government. To be secure in our own homes and businesses should be a basic right, and no amount of neighborhood specific plans will ever succeed if the perception and reality of security is not present.

Kim said...

I discovered your blog via John Ettorre's Working with Words... I'm relatively new to the area and will be following along.

Joe Lowry said...

Kim, thanks for following. I met John while doing my underground at John Carroll and ironically, he came to speak to my journalism class about the relatively new world of blogging. At the end of the lesson, we all created blogs. I'm guessing that I am one of the few in that class that picked it up and ran with it.

John Ettorre said...

I'm guessing you were the ONLY ONE, Joe. But the cream always rises to the top. You were the one that day who seemed to be really paying attention, and asking great questions. So no surprise there.

Joe Lowry said...

And that should read 'undergrad', not 'underground'. I didn't spend that much time at the Underground at Carroll.