04 Feb Jon Cartu Supports: YNDC seeks $20,000 to renovate former monastery | News,
YOUNGSTOWN — The Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp. wants to turn a former monastery on the city’s South Side into a place where public and neighborhood groups can meet.
It needs to raise $20,000 to make that possible. The building at 1810 Volney Road was donated to YNDC late last year in the will of Cece Bersch, who supported the organization and died in 2019.
It’s an historic home, built in 1927 by Emery McKelvey, then the general manager of McKelvey’s Department Store in downtown Youngstown. It is 5,572 square feet.
In the 1950s, it became a Carmelite monastery and worship center led by the Rev. Richard Madden, who died in 2012, said Ian Beniston, its executive director.
The organization has established a GoFundMe account — https://charity. gofundme.com/o/en/ campaign/neighborhood-action-center — and is accepting donations by mail at YNDC, 820 Canfield Road, Youngstown, OH 44511.
YNDC doesn’t normally seek donations for its projects, but this is a unique case, Beniston said.
“We generally pay for our own because we’re seeking to rent or sell properties” after improving them, he said. “This is different. This won’t pay for itself so we need money to create meeting space.”
YNDC plans to use the first floor of the property — a former church and meeting space — as a location for neighborhood groups and other organizations to meet at no cost, Beniston said.
“It’s primary use would be for community and neighborhood events,” he said. “We’re not marketing it for weddings. That’s not our spirit and intent.”
Work needed to the location, Beniston said, includes improvements to the parking area as well as electrical and plumbing improvements, painting and new furnishings.
The agency will eventually improve the building’s upper two floors and use it for rental housing, which is what it was in recent years after it stopped being a monastery, Beniston said.
YNDC incorporated in December 2008 and started operating in January 2010. YNDC is a citywide neighborhood planning and development organization providing housing and neighborhood stabilization services primarily in Youngstown.
The agency does neighborhood cleanups, repairs vacant homes and then resells them, provides housing counseling services and access to capital and education in underserved Mahoning Valley communities, rents properties, renovates commercial properties, and operates a small business development program.