City brings house down amid cheers
Rubble is all that remains of the house that once stood at 1029 Norwood Ave. on Youngstown’s North Side. City crews demolished the dilapidated structure Friday after neighbors had complained about its deteriorating condition for years.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
Neighbors of 1029 Norwood Ave., who’ve complained to city officials for nearly four years about its dangerous condition, cheered as the city street department demolished the structure.
It took about 90 minutes Friday for the dilapidated building to come down.
Street department workers will haul away the debris Monday and backfill and grade the lot as early as Tuesday, weather permitting, said Tom Sakmar, city construction foreman.
“I’m thrilled; I’m overjoyed,” said Patricia Coney, who lives in her childhood home three doors down from 1029 Norwood and led the neighborhood effort to get the house razed.
“Everyone’s extremely happy with the [house] coming down,” she added.
Neighbors are talking about putting a garden where the rundown house stood.
“We have to work together and make sure that area is in good condition,” Coney said.
The house, near Wirt Street on the city’s North Side in the Brier Hill neighborhood, was abandoned about four years ago.
Since then, the grass hasn’t been mowed, copper piping inside was stolen, and wild dogs and rats ran in and out of the house.
Also, the exterior was badly damaged with a large portion of the roof collapsed as well as broken windows, gutters and downspouts hanging off and the paint badly chipped.
“It was pretty rotted inside, too,” Sakmar said. “The roof was in bad shape, so there was a lot of water damage.”
Sakmar said he oversees the demolition of about 100 vacant houses in the city’s neighborhoods each year.
“Most of the time, the neighbors are very happy to see me coming,” he said.
The neighbors of 1029 Norwood were “real happy to see me,” he added.
After making dozens of calls for nearly four years to city officials about the home’s condition, neighbors saw action when
Coney called Charles Sammarone, shortly after he became mayor Aug. 1.
But there is still more work to be done on the street. There are three vacant houses, including two almost directly across the street from 1029 Norwood, that are deteriorating.
While the 1029 Norwood was being demolished, a neighbor — as per city order — mowed the high grass in front of her house.
But there is hope for the neighborhood, Coney said, because there are many residents who take excellent care of their homes.