Wedding Soup in Wick Park

By Tyler Rothbauer

Youngstown Cityscape in conjunction with the Youngstown Rotary served wedding soup Thursday evening in the Pavilion at Wick Park.

Phil Kidd, associate director of Cityscape, has been doing work in the park since 2009.  According to Kidd, this little event was held for the second consecutive year to thank the community for working together to make Youngstown a better place to live.

“I like to think as serving wedding soup as a metaphor for the park,” Kidd said. “Everyone chips in.”

Kidd also serves wedding soup because “it’s such a Youngstown thing” and it’s something unique, fun and fitting to the season.

Over the past few years, Cityscape has re-done the four corners of Wick Park, worked on sidewalks and revitalized the infrastructure. Last year an all-inclusive playground was installed.

Currently, Cityscape is working with YSU’s campus recreation to replace the existing exercise equipment. Looking forward, Kidd is expecting a nine-hole disc golf course to be constructed. No capital improvements have been made since 1982.

Midway into the evening, the Rotary Club of Youngstown announced they had reached their fundraising marker to renovate the Wick Park pavilion.

In the 10 month long campaign, the project has secured pledges of $350,000 stemming from various organizations and individuals.

The pavilion was originally constructed in 1957, and according to the Rotary, it has the highest usage of any facility in the Youngstown Park’s system.

Keeping the pavilion hospitable for the community is important to the Rotary.

Bill Lawson, executive director of the Mahoning Valley Historical Society, said the structure is vitally important to the north side of Youngstown.

The city of Youngstown is a primary contributor of funding the initiative, having committed $100,000 over a multi-year period.

According to the Rotary, over two-thirds of the campaign’s goals have been reached, and construction is expected to begin in early 2017. The pavilion renovation will follow other significant investments into Wick Park and its community.

The fundraising effort is part of Youngstown Rotary’s centennial campaign.

John Slanina, Rotarian and campaign chair said the project impacts the community in a positive way.

“This project is a great example of why I joined the Rotary Club of Youngstown,” said Slanina. “We are making an impact, and accomplishing things as a team.”

Youngstown Mayor John McNally is in full support of the project.

“My personal thanks as well to the Rotary Club of Youngstown for their fundraising efforts and to the many philanthropic and individual contributions,” said Mayor McNally.