Members of two South Side churches are picketing to protest the conditions at the trucking company.
VINDICATOR STAFF REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- A city official said today that JNH Trucking will again be cited as a nuisance after efforts to relocate the company failed.
Bill D'Avignon, the city's deputy director of planning, said the city has been working for two years with JNH owner Hasper Leggett of Niles to find a new location for the company.
But three efforts have failed since 2000, when the city cited the company for debris, junk and junked vehicles.
D'Avignon said city officials decided Friday they will have to start the cleanup process again.
The company is located at 43 Garfield St. on the South Side. Property on the south side of Garfield Street today -- on either side of the office -- was a mix of trucks and cars and piles of timber, rocks, dirt, plastic buckets and auto parts.
D'Avignon said he is researching ownership of the property on the south side of Garfield to determine ownership before citing JNH. D'Avignon said Leggett had told the city he was buying some of the lots.
Members of St. Patrick Church and Holy Bible Church of God in Christ began picketing at JNH this morning over what they said was neighborhood blight.
The protesters also plan to picket from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday.
One protester waived a sign asking "Would You Live Here?"
St. Patrick helped found the Alliance for Congregational Transformation Influencing Our Neighborhoods, a coalition of urban churches. Another sign read "We Are in ACTION."
How bad it is
The Rev. Edward P. Noga, pastor of St. Patrick's, said two families from his parish moved from the area to Campbell because of the conditions at JNH.
Father Noga reminded Leggett this morning that they had met several months ago.
"We're no further along now that we were then," the priest said to Leggett. "I think you should be ashamed. This is not what a neighborhood should look like."
Leggett told Father Noga the property is up to the zoning code.
When a reporter asked how the vehicles and buckets filled with debris and plastic bottles could be up to code, Leggett said the vehicles were in compliance with the code.
"The buckets are to put oil in the vehicles," he said.
A member of St. Patrick's, Michael Pernotto, said he had taken pictures of the property six months ago. It looked the same then as it does now, Pernotto said.
D'Avignon said the city had cited the company several times since the 2000 complaint. He was not sure how the cases were resolved.
D'Avignon said the city had considered moving the company under a bridge and to a former car dealership. City officials decided that would just be moving a nuisance from one part of town to another.
A third effort, to give the company a $40,000 city loan for expansion, fell apart over questions on whether JNH was eligible.