“The Monastery”

1810 Volney Road • Youngstown, OH
Community Revitalization Award

Owner: Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation (YNDC)
Project Designer: Ron Faniro, Faniro Architects
Project Nominator: Tiffany Sokol, YNDC
Year Rehabilitated: 2020 
Year built: 1927
Original Owner: Emery McKelvey
Original Architect: Unknown
Original Use: Single-family home

“The Monastery,” so-called because of its strong association for decades as a Carmelite monastery and worship center led by Father Richard Madden. He was an organizer and spiritual leader who fought to keep the monastery open for the people of Youngstown, during a time of great social and economic hardship following the collapse of the local steel industry. 

The structure’s original use was a single-family home built by Emery McKelvey in 1927. Interestingly, the facade that fronts Volney Road was the back of the house originally. The home was built to face Mill Creek Park and West Cohassett Drive. 

Cece Bersch, the last resident and caretaker of the Center, sought to ensure that the property would continue to serve as an asset to the community. With the support of the property’s Trustees, it was donated upon her passing to Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation (YNDC) in 2019.

Upon acquisition, YNDC staff engaged Faniro Architects to develop architectural plans that would echo the building’s historic usage with three, market-rate apartments and a Neighborhood Action Center for public gatherings.

The scope of work included the installation of energy efficient replacement windows that matched the design of the original wood windows, reconfiguration of bedrooms into apartment units with kitchens and living rooms, conversion of HVAC from boiler to modern PTAC units in each apartment, restoration of bathroom tile, and wood floor refinishing. 

This renovation has preserved the landmark property as a neighborhood asset for generations to come. 

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