Austintown moves forward in demolishing blighted homes
With eight vacant homes demolished, next on the list for Austintown Township officials is to receive grant fund reimbursement.
A state attorney general’s grant program enabled the township to use $89,828 in both matched and unmatched funds to knock down the uninhabitable, vacant homes without having to find additional funding in the budget.
“We are thankful to have the grant money because of the savings to the township and the taxpayers, and that is one of the biggest reasons that we are trying to [demolish] as many as we can,” said Jim Davis, township trustee. “We want to clean the township up, and we want to have a community that people are happy to call home.”
Last fall is when Darren Crivelli, zoning inspector, first became aware of the $1,531,680 in grant money given to Mahoning County for demolition of vacant homes. Attorney General Mike DeWine created The Moving Ohio Forward Grant Program to help counties improve areas that felt the impact of the housing market crash and had several vacant homes that needed demolished. Ohio received $75 million from the national mortgage settlement. That money was divided and distributed to the counties requesting it. The Mahoning County Land Bank provided the funds to the communities that asked for assistance, said Roger Smith, director of planning, acquisition and disposition. Austintown Township received the third-largest amount of money from the grant program. Youngstown and Boardman were first and second.
“It was vital when resources this size became available,” Smith said. “It will not solve the problem, but it will put a dent in the blight problem. It is not just a city problem, it is suburban problem and it is a rural problem.”
Read the full story Monday in The Vindicator and on Vindy.com.