By Ed Runyan
The nonprofit Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership has mapped out a strategy for demolition of 200 homes in Warren.
Matt Martin, TNP director, said the plan identifies seven geographical areas of the city that the partnership believes should be addressed first in a targeted effort.
The highest-priority area on the TNP map is on the city’s South Side, north and south of the Warren City Schools’ Jefferson K-8 school — including dozens of homes on several streets just south of the city limits in Warren Township.
Martin said the plan, written by TNP employees Marissa Williams and George Piscsalko, should serve as a framework for using Trumbull County’s $1.2 million allotment of money from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office in the most effective way, and also to identify the best way to spend any additional demolition money that could become available.
“We have to do some targeted, thorough work here,” Martin said of the area around the Jefferson K-8 school. He called the area a “sea of derelict, vacant houses.”
The plan acknowledges that not all of the demolitions to be carried out with Trumbull County’s allotment will be used in one of the seven targeted demolition areas.
Part will be used to demolish single homes scattered across the city that present safety or crime concerns, Martin said, such as those that have suffered serious fire damage.
The second-highest priority area in the plan is just east of Courthouse Square.
The area extends as far east as Warren G. Harding High School and ValleyCare Trumbull Memorial Hospital.
The third-priority area is around the Warren schools’ Willard K-8 building in the southeastern part of the city. It also is near Warren John F. Kennedy High School.
Fourth on the list is an area of Northwest Warren north of West Market Street from Tod Avenue west, including streets such as Haymaker, Ohio and York.
The next three highest-rated areas for demolition are throughout the southwest part of the city, including the area just east of the former Western Reserve High School, the area just south of there and the relatively small Palmyra Heights neighborhood off of Palmyra Road Southwest.
Sam Lamancusa, Trumbull County treasurer and director of the Trumbull County Land Bank, has said most of the county’s demolition money will be used in Warren and Warren Township with the remainder in Brookfield, Mecca and Hartford townships and the village of Newton Falls.
The land bank submitted TNP’s plan to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, so it is part of the county’s demolition plan, Martin said.
The money comes in part from the state as a result of a national mortgage settlement with the nation’s five largest mortgage companies over foreclosure abuse, fraud and improper practices.
The city of Warren was the largest Trumbull contributor to the project, providing $500,000.
Enzo Cantalamessa, Warren safety-service director, said the city, which will carry out the demolitions, agrees with giving particular attention to the areas of the city around the schools.
But the city might deviate from TNP’s plan by placing a higher priority on removing homes that have been burned out or are staging areas for criminal activity, Cantalamessa said.
The city also believes attention should be focused on the entrances to the city.
“The city’s priorities may not mirror every aspect of the plan,” Cantalamessa said. “There will be deviation from the plan.”
He adds that federal Community Development Block Grant money the city receives every year is available to carry out demolitions in low- to moderate-income areas, so it makes sense to save some of the attorney general’s money for areas that are not low- to moderate-income.
He said it’s likely and proper for council members to lobby the administration to get demolitions carried out in his or her part of the city.
“We want to do what’s best for the city as a whole,” he said of the city administration.