The leader of a group that works to restore the Sheet & Tube company homes says it’s time for Campbell leaders to take more interest in the homes.
Tim Sokoloff, president of the Iron Soup Historical Preservation Co., told city council Wednesday that his group of six volunteers managed to make a difference in the neighborhood with a small budget.
The group owns 19 of the 179 homes that are left in the complex, which consists of one- and two-unit apartments in concrete row houses that were the first of their kind. Sheet & Tube steel mill built them in 1918 for their workers in the Campbell plant. They are on the National Register of Historic Places, but many of them are in disrepair.
“Our six volunteers have cleared out storm drains and removed debris and unsightly vegetation on streets,” Sokoloff said.
“We’ve repaired unreadable signs and assisted in removing undesirable individuals from the area,” he continued.
He said the group has mowed grass and removed dead trees and “reclaimed valuable land.”
He said that with a $21,460 investment earned last year through flea markets, car washes and other fundraisers, the group removed three 20-yard trash bins of debris.
The group’s office is in one of the homes. It has installed surveillance systems.
Sokoloff said the volunteer efforts represent 12,000 hours of labor.
“Today, we are asking for the city’s help,” he said.
He said they want the city to prompt Mahoning County to perform electrical inspections at the units. And they want the city to enforce the laws against trespassers they have caught on camera as well as property-code violators.
Sokoloff also said the group would like the city to turn over to it parcels of property it has been maintaining. The group wants to use the parcels, one plot on Union and Andrews streets and the other along Jackson Street, for community gardens, he said.
Mayor Bill VanSuch said after the meeting the group should make a request for the property through his office, and the city would investigate to see if the parcels are privately owned or if they are in the city’s land bank.