Youngstown group working to give South Avenue a facelift

The group says it is sprucing up the area, with the idea of encouraging more businesses to set up shop in here

South Avenue cleanup

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – South Avenue is getting a bit of a facelift, courtesy of the community.

The South Avenue Area Neighborhood and Development Initiative — or S.A.A.N.D.I., for short — paired local organizations with the city of Youngstown to spruce up the South Avenue corridor.  The idea is to encourage more businesses to set up shop in the area.

Those working on South Avenue say they have made progress and say it’s all part of South Avenue’s comeback.

“Our goal is to clean up the South Avenue corridor, cut the grass, get the weeds up, make it look good,” said Pastor Al Yanno, chairman of S.A.A.N.D.I.

Yanno added that this is not a one-time thing.

“We do this on a regular basis, so this is our business thrust today, and then throughout the summer, we had a youth group come from our church and they did an Adopt a Block every single week,” he said.

Some area businesses are even on board.

“Being a business owner on South Avenue, I’m invested in this street. I grew up here in Youngstown all my life, lifelong resident, so it’s very important for us to bring the neighborhood back to the quality that it used to be,” said Tracy Jordan, owner of Happy Campers Learning Center.

Coca Cola has been a long-time supporter of the South Avenue cleanup. Account Manager William Duckworth says S.A.A.N.D.I.’s work is contagious — it’s encouraging them to spruce up the areas around their building.

“We’ve spent a lot of money on the new visitor’s entrance next to us, new fencing, new internal painting, and we’re going to undergo, starting next week, a whole new parking lot initiative,” he said.

They say they hope that their work leaves a lasting impression.

“Well, I hope by us doing this, the publicity we get from this, that more businesses on South Avenue will become involved, and even if you just do in front of your own business, if we all come together and work together, we can definitely revitalize this corridor,” Jordan said.

For people who want to get involved, S.A.A.N.D.I. says it holds monthly meetings and information on those meetings and events are on the group’s Facebook page.

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