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HUD to Mahoning Valley: Drop dead

Published: Fri, January 15, 2010 @ 12:10 a.m.

The Youngstown mayor, a congressman and others will challenge the decision with White House officials.



YOUNGSTOWN — Mahoning Valley officials are “stunned” and “extremely let down” by a federal agency’s decision to reject the area’s proposal for funding to spur development in hard-hit communities and to create jobs.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Thursday that it had awarded $2 billion from its Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

The program is designed to help state and local governments and nonprofit agencies acquire land and property, demolish and/or rehabilitate abandoned properties, to offer down payments and closing costs to low- to middle-income home buyers, and create land banks.

The Vindy.com headline Thursday, “HUD to Mahoning Valley: Drop dead,” was, in the words of Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams, “quite appropriate. In fact, it may even be an understatement.”

“It literally defies belief and explanation,” Williams said of HUD’s “crushing decision” to reject the Valley’s proposal. “What HUD says and what HUD does seem to be in complete contradiction, if this NSP decision is any indication. This is like running into a brick wall.”

Youngstown spearheaded the $32.4 million nine-community proposal that received praise from the Brookings Institution for its collaborative effort.

The other Valley communities are Warren, Niles, Girard, Campbell, Struthers, Lowellville, McDonald and Newton Falls.

Williams and members of the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative met in September with Ron Sims, HUD’s deputy secretary and the agency’s No. 2 official, about the application. Those at the meeting left with optimism about the local proposal.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, said he is “stunned” by HUD’s rejection of the Valley proposal.

“I have already communicated my disbelief to the White House and HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan,” he said.

Ryan, Williams and others from the Valley are scheduled to meet Wednesday with White House urban-affairs officials in Washington, D.C. That meeting was initially designed to discuss the Youngstown 2010 redevelopment plan.

After Thursday’s announcement, Ryan said, “Our elimination from the NSP program will be at the top of our agenda” at the meeting.

On Thursday, Ryan called the White House and HUD, and he sent a letter to President Barack Obama.

HUD “has missed a prime opportunity to recognize the plight of those smaller, older industrial cities that have suffered a major decline and are presented with a weak recovery in this economy at best,” Ryan wrote to Obama. “Given the quality of the proposal and the need of residents of my district, it is hard for me to believe that of the $2 billion announced [Thursday], the Mahoning River Cities proposal was of no merit.”

Melanie N. Roussell, a HUD spokeswoman, said she can’t speak about a specific application, but those rejected can meet with agency officials to discuss the reasons why their proposals weren’t approved.

Of the 482 applications, 79 were approved for funding.

The state of Ohio will receive $25.4 million. Cities, counties and nonprofits in the state will receive about $150 million.

The nine local communities opted to apply for funding as a group rather than be part of the state’s application — believing they’d receive more money through the first option, said Bill D’Avignon, Youngstown’s community development agency director who spearheaded the proposal.

“I’m shocked and disappointed,” D’Avignon said of HUD’s decision.

Of the $32.4 million, Youngstown was to receive more than $11 million and Warren was to get about $10 million.

More than half of Youngstown’s requested amount was going to be used to demolish vacant and/or dilapidated properties in the city over a three-year period, D’Avignon said.

Michael D. Keys, Warren’s community-development director, said he was initially “extremely angry” because the communities worked so hard.

“We can’t let this decision destroy our collaborative effort,” he said. “We can’t sit back and say, ‘Woe is us. The feds don’t care about us.’ It shouldn’t break up the collaborative effort we’ve made.”

State Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Canfield, D-33rd, said he was looking forward to the HUD announcement.

“Now I find myself extremely let down,” he said. “... How is that ignored? This is a big blow to neighborhoods in Mahoning and Trumbull counties.”

This isn’t the first time that Youngstown officials have complained about NSP funding.

During the program’s first round of funding in October 2008, Youngstown received $2.7 million. It was one of the smallest allocations from HUD among Ohio’s larger cities even though Youngstown has the highest foreclosure rate in the state, nearly 15 percent.



1nojimbo(286 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Already contacted the White House and Democratic National Committee to ask if the Obama Administration is deliberately trying to lose in 2012 by screwing over a hard core Democratic area. Take 5 minutes to let the White House know how you feel either by a message (http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact) or a phone call (202-456-1111).

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2Ytownboy(142 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

This goes to show how much political pull Tim Ryan has.

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3UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Sounds like the valley liberal DemoPORKERS are on their way for a Washington, DC vacation at taxpayer expense. Tim Ryan does not deserve re-election. He has yet to do anything for the valley. Taxpayers can no longer afford to support the spending of deficit creating dollars for these kinds of projects. The liberal DemoPORKERS in the valley just don't get it.

TEA :)

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4valleyred(1103 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

I will be sending my thoughts to the Vindicator today :).

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5ytownsteelman(680 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

You mean Tim Ryan has sold our future via cap and trade and we get NOTHING in return? No payoffs, no favors, nothing?

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6SickofJimbo(140 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Hey Timmy "Pelosi Lap Dog" Ryan. I'll bet you're proud of this one. If you would have spent more time on our local issues rather than the Health Care fiasco or going to Copenhagen maybe you wouldn't have dropped the ball. Believe me if Our area would have gotten the HUD grant You would have been the first one to take credit. Now your just a whiner trying to save face. Sometimes a cheat is just a cheat.

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7glbtactivist(315 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

The grant writer must have been terrible. The valley needs to consider hiring a new grant writer. Cong. Ryan has tremendous pull in Congress as a member of the ways and means committee. He has brought more to the valley than his predecessor did in all the years he was in congress.

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8SickofJimbo(140 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Hey glbtactivist;
Blame it on the grant writer are you kidding me!
Ryan was asleep at the switch; He blew it period.
He is Pelosi's Lap Dog No more no less
The only thing that he has brought to the Valley is a bunch of small talk and our share of allocations that a monkey could have gotten.

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9dd933(307 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

The grant proposal was not the problem:
"Youngstown spearheaded the $32.4 million nine-community proposal that received praise from the Brookings Institution for its collaborative effort."
The fact that the Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization group got $40 Million might be one reason the Mahoning Valley gets left out.

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10bucknut09(13 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

The definition of insanity is something like "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

Keep voting for your Democrats Y-town robots and it will remain the same.

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11Springman(237 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Please check out the potential effect that Marcellus Shield gas money could have on the Mahoning Valley.

It may have the potential to return $32.4 mil PER YEAR.

NEW – Five firms submit high bids for gas drilling in Pa.

Associated Press

HARRISBURG — Five companies are willing to pay more than $128 million for the right to drill for natural gas on Pennsylvania public forest land as the cash-strapped state scrounges for money.

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12steelerman09(111 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

First of all, you people always vote for the Dems in this area...and you always will. Tim Ryan and Sherrod Brown are LIP SERVICE. Tim Ryan gets your votes because he does TV interviews, but he has no pull, obviously. Keep voting for these spineless office holders!!! They are puppets and I knew we wouldn't receive this money. It is freaking YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio....the town that praises ex-cons!

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13Photoman(1237 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

So, we elect Tim Ryan and he's supposed to make everything right in the valley? Just because he's tied to Pelosi doesn't mean she has to care about we the peons. There's enough strength, as yet untapped, in this valley to accomplish whatever we want.

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14Woody(482 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Sounds like Al Gore ... If Bill and I get elected, there will be no incinerator in East Liverpool"


Clinton promising an economic development zone.

Or any of the promises, State and Federal Democratic leaders promise but never seem to deliver.

Younstown is Charlie Brown...State and Federal Democrats are Lucy. We keep getting the football pulled away.

Definitin of insanity - keep doing the samething over and over and expect to get different results.

The Democrats know they do not need to invest money here. We will keep voting for them no matter what. This area is a token vote to them. They know they will get it.

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15personalresponsibility(11 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Congressman Ryan you have 6 years until I run for & take your congressional seat from you (that is if you haven't sold your soul to Ms. Pelosi and crew for another job). I can't wait.

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16bucnasty(17 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Maybe this really shows how much Comrade Obama really cares about this area. Nancy Pelosi's leash must not have been long enough to let Tim Ryan bark loud enough to change (or attempt to) people's minds.

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17Westsider(269 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Blind allegiance to the Democrats - how's that working out for you? The Mahoning Valley has NOTHING to show for it. Here's an idea - vote Republican if only to show the powers that be in Washington that we cannot be taken for granted!!

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18ytownpunk(26 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

It's smells like another backdoor bailout of the banks in an attempt to keep the housing bubble inflated. But at the low end of things.

Timmy and Jay need to bang on this angle in the media.

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19sue(178 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Mahoning and Trumbull Democrats: this is what comes of voting for one party over the last 50 years. Columbus and the feds laugh at us. At election time, the Democrat politicians come by and pat us on the head and know they will get our vote. But when it comes to getting anything we get screwed, and you know why, because we'll vote Democrat anyway. That's not to say Republicans are any better, but districts that are 50/50 Republican and Democrat get more government dollars because the parties have to fight for votes.

By the way, Tim Ryan must has no power if he couln't get federal funds. So much for his Pelosi connection. Maybe they need another taxpayer junket to europe.

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20SickofJimbo(140 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Maybe Timmy Broke Up With Pelosi's daughter

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21JD010101(137 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago


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22AXLE69(181 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Who are you calling idiots usa1 pro conservaterican? You should be happy since you hate all government.I just can`t believe you hate our brave service men and women dying for our nation.psst,they work for government.Then of course there are the firemen,policemen,road workers,sewer workers,water workers.Of course you hate them because as an ultra-conservative that`s your thang right? It`s too bad that there isn`t a way to let them know not to come if your house is on fire because I`m sure as an ultra conservative you don`t need their help.You probably have a tanker truck in the driveway on standby right? Typical conservative hypocrisy.

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23steelerman09(111 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Check out Bertram's article. He explains it in PERFECT terms. Also, when will the Valley vote for someone OTHER than a Democrat. Obama lied to us, our reps lie to us, everyone lies to us....Why? Because they can! WE ARE YOUNGSTOWN!! What do we have to offer? When HUD had the lists in front of them, I GUARANTEE they looked at YTown and said to themselves, "Well, that would be a waste of money giving it to them. Who wants to move to Youngstown? What do they have to offer?" NOTHING!!!

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24SickofJimbo(140 comments)posted 6 years, 4 months ago

Tim "once a cheat/always a cheat" Ryan should look at what Scott Brown did in Mass. He won as a candidate for the people not for the special interests aka Pelosi. You are a follower/wannabe/never had real job/government leach/cheat that just doesn't get it.

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