Youngstown’s Pleasant Grove and Boardman’s Forest Grove Historic District

I combined this small Youngstown neighborhood on its southern border with the Forest Glen historic district and portion of Boardman north of Shields Rd/Indianola Rd as they tie into one another well with a shared commercial district along Market Street. The other reason being that Pleasant Grove is too small to evaluate on its own and I wanted to include most of Boardman’s pre-WWII development. Boundaries used here Euclid/Grover Dr to the east, Midlothian Blvd to the north, Mill Creek to the west, and Mill Creek Dr. and Shields Rd/Indianola Rd to the south.

Pleasant Grove is a “pleasant” 1920s-1940s neighborhood with suburban like density but decent connectivity and nice historic homes. Commercial districts along Market and Midlothian Blvd are pretty auto centric but at least still have sidewalks. The Forest Glen Historic District in North Boardman hosts an excellent array of 1920s-1950s mansions and modest homes set curvilinear forested streets. Very pretty.

The main area for improvement in the neighborhood is retrofitting Market Street into an urban commercial district. This is at least possible with the neighborhood’s connectivity and grid but given the economics of Youngstown, I don’t anticipate this happening anytime soon. 
Click here to view my Pleasant Grove Album and here to view my Forest Glen Album on Flickr


* Great economic and generational diversity.
* For sale housing is pretty cheap but some decent diversity. Product ranging anyway from 25K-240K. Most housing selling between 50K-100K. The majority of homes selling over 100K is in the Forest Glen Historic District.
* Mill Creek Metro Park provides a great park amenity for along the western edge of this district with extensive trails, bike paths, golf courses, meadows, and pavilion space. 
* Great tree canopy especially in the Forest Glen section of the neighborhood. Only a couple modest parks outside of Mill Creek Park.
* Generally a safe neighborhood  besides some blight along Market St.
* Sidewalk infrastructure generally pretty good. Some missing sidewalks on the newer streets. Curbs are rarely ADA compliant though.
* Great 1920s-1950s historic architecture especially in the Forest Glen Historic District.


* Public transit access is fair. Bike infrastructure limited to a dedicated trail along Mill Creek Park.
* Racial diversity is pretty limited.
* Rental product limited to only a couple single family homes.
* Cultural amenities limited to a handful of restaurants and bars.
* Retail amenities better but generally auto centric. Include a couple drug stores, a family dollar, Middle Eastern grocery store, a couple banks, antiques & boutiques, a florist, salons, and a public library.
* Some good schools including Valley Christian School and several private and public elementary schools nearby.
* Modern in fill pretty much limited to strip malls.

Idora- historic home of Youngstown’S favorite amusement park.

The Idora neighborhood gets its name from the urban amusement park, Idora Park, previously  located in the north-western portion of the neighborhood. The amusement park is what fueled the growth of the neighborhood in the early 20th century. Sadly Idora Park closed in 1984 and was the dealt knell to the Glenwood commercial district serving the neighborhood. Idora Park was eventually converted into a large greenspace connected to Mill Creek Park.

After the past decade local philanthropy stepped in to stabilize the housing market through demos and renovations. Plenty of vacant lots remain. Glenwood Avenue has a long way to go before becoming a viable urban district as most of its fabric has been wiped away. I’d also like to see dedicated bike lanes built within the neighborhood.
Click here to view my Idora album on Flickr


* Nice Historic architecture
* Great Tree Canopy.
* Well served with park amenities with Mill Creek Metro park wrapping around the neighborhood’s western edge.
* Generally good sidewalk infrastructure but limited up to date ADA curbs.


* Limited in-fill and what does exist is auto centric commercial along Glenwood.
* Good access to Dwtn.
* High percentage of family households.
* Most of blight is along Glenwood but certainly some missing teeth in the neighborhood. Local leaders seem to have at least stabilized Idora with lots of demos and renovations.
* Public Transit access isn’t great. Limited bike infrastructure although there is a nice bike path along Mill Creek parkway.
* Pretty low income neighborhood with some middle class households. Not great racial diversity either. Black majority district.
* Generally a pretty cheap neighborhood. Some housing in the 100Ks and low 200Ks near Mill Creek. These are larger homes. Rentals options are very limited.
* Other than the Lanterns Mill Historic site really not cultural amenities here. Hopefully the Historic Foster Theater gets converted to a live music theater as planned.
* Retail amenities limited to some pretty typically low income stores like a gas station, family dollar, dry cleaners, and car mechanics.
* No schools within Idora. Closest ones are 2 miles away. 

North Heights- One of Youngstown’s most stable pre-WW II neighborhoods

North Heights is a comprised of mostly modest and large single family, wood frame homes built up in the 1920s & 1930s. The neighborhood was built up in response to middle-class housing demand fueled by Youngstown’s growing industrial base. Ethnic make up of the residents include African Americans, Italian Americans, Irish Americans, and Jewish Americans .

Mansions with large set backs line 5th Avenue. East of here is a more blighted lower income neighborhood. West of 5th Avenue is a solid middle class district. Commercial corridors are either auto centric or blighted but some auto centric retail. Other than having sidewalks and good street grid, North Heights functions more effectively like a moderately dense post WWII suburb. But that could change if the commercial districts are ever urbanized and more residential in-fill occurs. Unfortunately given Youngstown’s economy, I don’t anticipate that happening in my life time.
Click here to view my North Heights Album on Flickr


* Great tree canopy.
* Very convenient access to Dwtn with just an 8 minute drive.
* Great racial and economic diversity in North Heights
* Park amenities consist of Crandall Park and several cemeteries. Crandall Park is a good one, centrally located, diverse amenities and runs several blocks along a stream.
* Consistent sidewalk infrastructure but very few ADA compliant curb cuts.


* Very low density. More like a suburb.
* Poor Public transit and no bike infrastructure.
* Housing is still very cheap but some diversity. East of Ohio is mostly under 50K. West of Ohio street between 50K-100K. Larger mansions along 5th Ave generally selling in the 100Ks. Top of the market in in the low 200Ks.
* As this is a SF dominant neighborhood, rentals are very limited.
* Cultural amenities limited to a handful of restaurants and bars.
* Commercial corridors generally both blighted and auto centric. Not much positive to say here.
* Some retail amenities but all auto centric including a supermarket, drug store, a couple dollar stores, a post office and other low income stores.
* Schools include a public elementary and a catholic school just west of the neighborhood boundaries. 

Youngtown’s Wick Park- Historic Home to Youngstown’s Elite

Wick Park is bordered by Belmont Ave to the west, Andrews to the east, Fairgreen to the north, and route 422  to the south.

Wick Park during the first half of the 20th century included some of the city’s most affluent residents. Youngstown’s wealthiest business leaders and professionals migrated here away from downtown and the noisy activity of the City’s steel mills to this wooded  neighborhood areas near the city’s northern border. The largest homes historically lined Wick Park, Elm & Wick Avenues. Many of these homes have been torn down or are occupied by YSU and other institutional. But some remain as single family residential, especially surrounding Wick Park. 

The neighborhood’s other great assets include its convenient access to YSU/Downtown and Wick Park itself, an expansive and multi-functional park. Still lots of blight remain in the neighborhood including several blocks of urban prairie east of Wick Ave. My hope is that given its location and historic architecture, civic leaders will focus on revitalizing the neighborhood.  There is a nice but modest commercial node at Elm Street and Baldin where this could start along with stabilizing streets surrounding the park. 
Click here to view my Wick Park Album on Flickr


* Generally good sidewalk and ADA infrastructure. Not as good on streets with few houses.
* Very convenient access to Dwtn. Only a 6 minute drive and 1.5 miles away. YSU is a good job hub as well and only 5 minutes away.
* Good connectivity and street ride in Wick Park.
* Decent racial diversity. Family households is also high, generally around 50%.
* Wick park is an expansive central located park in the neighborhood provide lost of green space, playgrounds, tennis court, golf disco course, tennis courts, a modest recreational center, and woods.
* Great tree canopy. 
* Decent school access with the neighborhood hosting a Catholic High School. College Prep HS located nearby at YSU’s campus and an elementary school about a mile north. 


* Transit Service isn’t great. No Bike Infrastructure either.
* High poverty here but some income diversity.
* Housing market is very depressed. Rentals of all sized seem to rent around $600. Most in shape homes sell for 50K. Not sure what top of the market might be for one of the large mansions in the neighborhood. Guessing its just sky of 100K.
* Nice cluster of retail amenities at Elm and Baldwin (i.e. coffeehouse, food-coop, florist, a Kitchen incubator, and a diner. Large hospital along Belmont.
* Cultural amenities are also limited but residents have convenient access to YSU performing arts and performances at the Stambaugh Auditorium.
* Neighborhood doesn’t feel unsafe but plenty of blight. Urban prairie in the eastern portion of the neighborhood east of Wick Ave. 

Downtown Youngstown, OH- a struggling downtown that has made great strides towards remaking itself

Downtown Youngstown is a historically well built center for a once thriving mid-sized American City. The skyline is filled with wonderful mid-sized early 20th century towers cladded in gorgeous detailing. But one will notice that no modern high-rises grace their presence  here. This is due to the economic collapse that afflicted Youngstown in the 1970s and 1980s. Dwtn Youngstown like many other American cities also experienced competition from suburban malls. City leaders tried to combat this through creating a pedestrian mall along Federal Street, its largest retail center. Unfortunately this backfired and helped fueled high vacancies.

The early 2000s brought renewed efforts from civic leaders to revitalized Dwtn. They first re-opened Federal Street, built a new sport’s arena, and began investing in the renovation of their vast supply of underutilized historic towners into new office space and apartments.

I wouldn’t call Dwtn Youngstown vibrant, but the revitalization efforts of the past two decades have certainly removed the worse blight and decline and stabilized Dwtn. Current efforts are to improve the streetscaping, make Dwtn more multi-model, and better connect it to Youngstown State. The new Riverfront Park and Amphitheater was also a great addition to Dwtn as there were almost no park/plaza spaces Dwtn previously. 
Click here to view my Downtown Youngstown Album on Flickr


* Great historic architecture.
* Generally good ADA and sidewalk infrastructure but some crumbling sidewalks on the edges of Dwtn and curb cuts not up to date with ADA.
* No great public transit. Ok within Dwtn and YSU but mediocre ant best even in Youngstown’s inner city neighborhoods.
* Great racial diversity.
* Large student population attending within or close to Dwtn. 12K students attend YSU just north of Dwtn and a couple thousand more at Eastern Gateway Comm. College.
* While no modern towers are here, Dwtn Youngstown has a decent skyline composed to consisted mid-sized 1900-1930s towers.
* While there are a fair about of parking lots dwtn, especially along the edges, solid urban from along Federal and Wick/ Market.
* Very challenging to understanding the # of jobs in Dwtn Youngstown. My sense is that its a decent # (say 25-40K) but still riddled with high vacancy and low lease rates. Positive momentum seems to be  bldg. though.
* Good amenities Dwtn including a sports arena, good amount of restaurants, bars, & cafes, the DeYor Performing Arts Center, the outdoor amphitheater at the Riverfront Park,  several nice museums, a Dwtn post office and library.


* Bike infrastructure is very limited within the City and most of the Metro. Best bike trail in the City is in Mill’s Creek. Some larger trails in the metro.
* Very high poverty rate but some diversity with new market rate propping up.
* Really not family households in Dwtn but some adult age diversity.
* Some decent rentals but housing product is very limited especially for sale (condos).
* The large sidewalks and blvd square at Market and Federal is the only park or plaza space in Dwtn Youngstown. Very surprising.
* Dwtn is a bit rough on the edges with a fair amount of homeless but its generally safe.
* Youngstown Early College School is a solid college prep option just north of Dwtn. Some elementary schools abouts 1 mile south of Dwtn. Not much else.
* Some decent new apartments on the north edge of Dwtn next to YSU, but not modern high-rises.
* Pretty dead during off work hours, especially outside of Federal Street.
* Park space had been limited to just the small plaza at Federal & Wick for a long time. Fortunately the expansive Riverfront and amphitheater were recently constructed. This also functions as Youngtown’s civic heart even though its not a plaza space.
* No Convention Center Downtown and limited sport facilities.
* Some dwtn retail including the 20 Federal Place mall, several boutiques, and some locally owned creative retail. No supermarket nor pharmacy however.