The mayor said the program aims to rehabilitate the homes and motivate others.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- Twenty homes in the city's 2nd and 4th wards will be bought and revitalized using $2.6 million from the Ohio Department of Development and city community development funds.
The homes are in the neighborhood bordered by Washington Street, Mahoning Avenue, Dana Street and Elm Road, Mayor Hank Angelo announced at a city council meeting Wednesday.
About $2 million is coming from tax credits awarded to Sunshine Homes Inc. by the Ohio Department of Development. Loans from ODOD and a private lender also will be used in the financing. Angelo said the city plans to commit $208,000 in community development funds.
Sunshine will own the homes, and after 15 years the renters may take over the mortgage.
Angelo said the program also aims to clean up the homes and motivate others to follow suit.
Rehabilitation includes roofs, walls, lead abatement, heating and air conditioning, electric service, siding, bathrooms, kitchens and exterior elements, including driveways and landscaping.
Second bathrooms also will be added where feasible to downstairs areas of the homes, according to the mayor. Sunshine will work to preserve the architectural integrity of the homes when possible.
Sunshine director Tim Yova and consultant Arnold Clebone worked for the funding, which was awarded to a select number of not-for-profit organizations and corporations.
In the past 81/2 years, Sunshine has renovated and developed more than 200 housing units for low- and moderate-income people throughout Warren and other parts of Trumbull County.
Councilman James A. "Doc" Pugh, D-6th, said he prefers to see emphasis on programs that foster homeownership rather than rental properties.
The mayor thinks rehabilitation of the homes for rental will encourage homeownership.
"No one is going to move into an area where the houses are dilapidated and falling down," Angelo said.
He said the city health, zoning and code enforcement departments will enforce codes within the neighborhood. The city's community development department also will work with landlords and homeowners to get loans and grants for rehabilitation work.
Council members also approved an ordinance enabling a tax abatement to be worked out with Superior Walls of Ohio Inc. and Trumbull County commissioners. The South Pine Avenue manufacturer plans to expand with a roughly $1,228,000 investment.
The expansion would involve hiring about 25 full-time employees by June 2003. The company is asking for a 75 percent abatement for 10 years.
Council members also heard from members of Our Lives Count, a residents group formed because of concerns about Warren Recycling.
The group is concerned that hydrogen sulfide is emanating from the Martin Luther King Avenue plant and endangering their health.
Councilman Gary Fonce, D-at large, suggested the concerns be addressed at another meeting so all council members can get educated about the issues.