New park to break ground in Youngstown

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Kids on the South Side of Youngstown soon will have a new place to hang out as a groundbreaking ceremony was held Monday for the Glenwood Community Park.

The park is located between LaClede and Sherwood avenues. Right now, the space is an overgrown vacant lot, but plans are under way to change it into a park with a playground, pavilion and basketball court.

The court and playground as well as excavating, fencing, grading and seeding will take about 30 to 45 days, said Youngstown Parks and Recreation Director Robert Burke. The pavilion and restroom facilities will be completed in about 75 days, he said.

It will be the first park in the Fosterville and Idora Park neighborhoods in nearly three years.

The city sold land that housed Fosterville Park and the former Cleveland School, which was demolished in 2008, for $14,000 in 2010 for the construction of a 17,000-square-foot Bottom Dollar Food, the only full-service grocery store on the South Side. The new park is a short distance from the Bottom Dollar Food location.

“I’m excited for the kids in the neighborhood who’ll get to use this park,” Victoria Allen, a member of the city’s park and recreation commission, said while standing on the park property. “I went to the Cleveland School and played in Fosterville Park. I grew up on Laclede. It means a lot to me to know kids will have a place to go.”

The $300,000 facility should be open by September. Bottom Dollar donated $30,000 towards the project along with donations from other businesses. The City of Youngstown also contributed.

The price tag includes $71,000 to remove gas tanks and clean up soil on the site that used to be a Sun Oil gas station for about 40 years, Burke said. It closed in the early 1970s. Property acquisition was about $20,500.

The city plans to purchase a property on LaClede Avenue at the rear of the park property, demolish a vacant house there and turn it into a parking lot, Burke said.

Glenwood Community Park will be the first new park in the city since the Arlington Heights Recreation Center and Park opened in 2009.

The park and recreation commission paid $13,000, with $5,000 from the city’s Community Development Agency, to Youngstown State University’s Center for Urban and Regional Studies to provide data needed to evaluate the 45 properties owned by the commission. The goal is to find out the best use of each property and how many park properties are needed.

Results from YSU are expected next month.

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