By Sean Barron
What can be done to stem the tide of absentee landlords and property owners who know little about what they have bought — or simply don’t care?
Too often, people from out of state buy land in the city with little or no oversight, which in many instances sets the stage for neighborhood neglect, abandonment and blight.
That was a concern several people brought up during Tuesday’s Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp. meeting at the Covelli Centre.
The final of several such sessions throughout the city was to examine data based largely on input from the previous meetings, noted Thomas A. Hetrick, a YNDC neighborhood planner.
The YNDC is to use the information gleaned from residents’ concerns, positive assessments and priorities for a report it will compile that will contain strategies for improving and stabilizing then city’s neighborhoods.
The effort also will take into account the city’s limited financial resources, he noted.
Hetrick began the one-hour session by reviewing several demographics pertaining to the city, such as population trends, residents’ median income, age and level of education and neighborhood rankings related to housing.
He also categorized neighborhoods as stable, functional, constrained, weak and extremely weak based on their housing stock and marketability.
According to the data, people’s top assets pertaining to their neighborhoods included strong neighborhood associations, community facilities and historic homes.
Main challenges were housing and property issues such as lax code enforcement, a greater need for housing demolition and tighter regulations regarding rental units, Hetrick noted.
Residents’ top priorities were maintaining roads and sidewalks, increasing community policing, encouraging greater economic development and improving aesthetics in the city’s corridors, he continued.
One attendee said she wanted to see more efforts to market the city and its neighborhoods, and another woman expressed frustration regarding what she contended was the same topics being brought up at the meetings followed by too little action.
“I feel your frustration because I’m frustrated, too,” said Councilwoman Janet Tarpley, D-6th.
“We’re trying everything we can to make this happen in the neighborhoods.”