Expert will examine Youngstown's demolition program

YOUNGSTOWN — Although 3,000 vacant houses were demolished in Youngstown in the past seven years, even city officials question its impact on neighborhoods.

“It’s been a scattershot approach,” said DeMaine Kitchen, the mayor’s secretary/chief of staff, who oversees the city’s demolition program. “We’re trying to do more organized demolition, prioritizing areas. We’re getting better, but we need to improve.”

But thanks to the city’s involvement in the federal Strong Cities, Strong Communities [SC2] initiative, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is providing Youngstown with a twofold approach to help improve its demolition efforts.

Beckie Northrop, an expert on housing and community development with BCT Partners, a New Brunswick, N.J., firm working with HUD, will spend Monday through Friday in Youngstown talking to city officials and key stakeholders such as the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp. and the Mahoning County Land Bank, about demolition. She said she’ll also look at best practices in other cities.

For the complete story, read Sunday's Vindicator and Vindy.com

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