Published: Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Honor recognizes time, effort spent
Winners were chosen from all areas of the city.
YOUNGSTOWN The pride that Charlie Staples takes in the appearance of his barbecue restaurant helps Youngstown to look good.
So, too, does the care North Side homeowner Carole Pesa takes with her flower beds. As does Youngstown State University Student Government Association's devotion to restoring the gardens at the former Wick-Pollock Inn.
Each of the 16 individuals, businesses, institutions and community groups that were recognized Tuesday at CityScape's Beautification Awards ceremony has done a small part to beautify Youngstown.
The organization, which has made improving the city's landscape its mission, wanted to highlight the large impact of small contributions, said executive director Sharon Letson.
"When you have all these things going on at the same time, and you see that impact across the board, that's the key," said Letson.
CityScape chose the recipients of its awards from all parts of the city those with great resources and those with few.
"The point is not that a lot has been spent, but that a lot of time and effort have been spent," said Letson.
Staples never debated the pains he took to keep his restaurant immaculate. Nor did he expect it would earn him public recognition.
"I think it's important for the community and pride," he said. "I think it tells people who you are."
Staples takes the responsibility so seriously, he employs professional grounds crews to tend to his property daily.
"They don't serve chicken or anything like that. Their whole job is cleaning," he said.
Neither did Joyce Davidson expect to receive accolades when she organized cleanup days for area youths on behalf of her neighborhood organization, Know Your Neighbor Block Watch.
"The project was to teach kids to get involved with learning how to landscape," she said.
The young volunteers were employed to improve the appearance of vacant lots on the North Side. Character training and violence prevention lessons were also part of the event, she said.
YSU's Student Government Association was surprised by how much interest its project to revive the gardens of the former Wick-Pollock Inn has generated, said Erianne Raib, the organization's vice president for student affairs.
"Really we were just trying to spruce up an area that students could utilize," she said. "We realize now that it's a source of pride for the entire community."
A student approached the organization with the idea last year, she said. The group was able to mobilize dozens of volunteers for the effort.
"It's an honor for the community to recognize the work and the love that YSU students have for the community."