YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation (YNDC) started in 2009 and has since grown to become the go-to organization for revitalizing the city. On Friday, YNDC was named the best community development corporation in Ohio.
The Canfield Road parking lot of YNDC is filled with vans and trucks with the word “revitalize” written on them. On Monday, in the parking lot, YNDC executive director Ian Beniston held up the plaque certifying YNDC as Ohio Community Development Corporation of the Year 2022.
Beniston said there are over 300 member organizations across the state, so it’s a great honor for YNDC to receive such an award.
“Yeah, definitely excited. I think it’s great acknowledgment of the work of our team, our board, all of our funders, stakeholders. Everyone that’s been involved with us since day one,” he said.
Friday night, Beniston accepted the award at the Ohio Community Development Corporation Association’s annual conference. It was the second time YNDC has won the award — it was also recognized in 2014.
“We don’t do it for the awards, but getting the acknowledgment definitely says we’re getting some things done,” Beniston said.
Most YNDC projects include some kind of construction — revitalizing a house or building. In the past year, YNDC repaired 300 owner-occupied homes, 17 vacant homes and seven commercial units.
It opened a plaza at Glenwood Avenue and Canfield Road, bought the Foster Theater and renovated and sold the house once used by the Mill Creek Park superintendent.
“I think we’re just relentless. We’re always going. It’s never necessarily one big project for us but more that incremental, just continued push,” Beniston said.
Next year, YNDC plans to build three more houses on Mineral Springs Avenue off Glenwood Avenue and renovate several more commercial properties on Glenwood.
It will also be leading a citywide tree planting project and have plans developed to reuse the Foster Theater.
Also, Caitlyn Brown of the Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership was named Staff Member of the Year.