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Youngstown plans to raze 500 structures by ’14; hires anti-violence coordinator

Published: Fri, June 8, 2012 @ 12:09 a.m.



By David Skolnick



Between now and the time he leaves office Dec. 31, 2013, Mayor Charles Sammarone wants 500 vacant residential structures to be demolished.

“I don’t know if it’s achievable, but that’s our goal,” Sammarone said.

The December date isn’t just Sammarone’s last day as mayor, it’s also the deadline for work to be done for those receiving money from an Ohio attorney-general demolition program.

The city will get at least $500,000 of Mahoning County’s $1.53 million allocation from that program. Also, the city has set aside $1 million for demolition work.

Sammarone made the comments after Thursday’s board of control meeting. The board, of which Sammarone is chairman, voted to hire CT Consultants of Youngstown to oversee asbestos testing and construction inspection and be the city’s administrator of residential demolitions.

The company will be paid $1,050 a structure.

By having the company handle that work, the city expects the demolition process to move faster, Sammarone said.

With Jay Williams as mayor from January 2006 to August 2011, about 2,500 dilapidated structures were demolished.

Since Sammarone became mayor 10 months ago, about 175 vacant residential houses have been razed.

There are about 2,000 to 4,000 that need to come down, based on various estimates.

Also Thursday, the board hired William “Guy” Burney, born in Youngstown and now living in Campbell, to serve as coordinator of the city’s new Community Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV).

Burney, a part-time conflict trainer for the Ohio Commission on Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management, will be paid $20,000 for a six-month consulting contract.

“It’s not long-term and it’s not a lot of money, but I wanted to help my city,” Burney said. “We need to get the community involved for it to be a big success. The six months is the initial part. My role is to build the foundation.”

Young people is the focus of the effort, he said. Burney said he’ll be involved in intervention to help troubled youths and prevention with kids who “haven’t started down that wrong road.”


1johnyoung(241 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

I'm not quite understanding Sammarone's criticism expressed in yesterday's article regarding Youngstown's past demolition efforts. 2,500 demolitions in 68 months between Jan. 2006 and Aug. 2011averages out to 441 per year. In his 10 months in office, 175 have been torn down. Who had the more effective program?

This deal with CT Consultants sounds like nothing more than just another sweetheart arrangement, where they will be doing what city personnel are already supposed to be doing. What happened to accountability, Mr. Mayor?

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2Planter(18 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

John, I reread yesterday's article and I didn't read that the Mayor was criticizing the demolitions since 2006 but rather that he was critical of the inspectors in the last 30 or so years for not doing their job.

As far as having an experienced conflict trainer to help set up a program and to be" involved in intervention to help troubled youths and prevention with kids who “haven’t started down that wrong road.”', is in my opinion an excellent idea.

Could you please tell me which city personnel are doing these things already? Seems to me whatever we are doing right now isn't working. Our city and our young people are too important not to be proactive, and it's about time, IMHO.

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3VINDYAK(1799 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Now, that's something to build on...becoming proactive with our young folks is a very good start.

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4johnyoung(241 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago


The quotation attributed to the Mayor in the June 7, 2012 article regarding the demolition program was “That’s what people have been getting: poor service and excuses over the years.” My question is: What's so poor about the service if they managed to demolish an average of 441 houses per year over the past 5 and a half years?

My comment regarding duplication of effort between city personnel and private sector contractors was in reference to the agreement with CT consultants to now administer the demolition program. The city maintains an in-house staff of personnel who are supposed to be handling these duties. If they previously demolished 2,500 houses in 68 months with in-house staff, why do they now suddenly need an outside contractor to run the program and demolish 500 houses in the next 16 months?

Reading between the lines, it smells like a pure sweetheart deal as I previously mentioned.

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5Planter(18 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

John, thanks for the reply. I see what you're saying about the number of homes being demolished then verses now. You're right. The numbers do make one wonder. Hmmmmmmm.

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