A struggling neighborhood in Youngstown looks to rebound
By David Skolnick
As in many areas of the city, the Powerstown neighborhood on the southeast side has fallen on hard times.
“Pit bulls, prostitution, drugs, guns,” Mary Krupa, treasurer of the Powerstown Block Watch, said when asked about the neighborhood. “We have some really deteriorated properties.”
But Krupa and others in the neighborhood have hope the area can be revitalized.
A key step was highlighted Thursday with a press conference to talk about the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp.’s improvement and sale of a house at 3405 Lenox Ave., which had been in foreclosure and in bad shape, to Nancy Ramos. The sale should close in a week or two.
“The neighborhood is very excited,” Krupa said. “This will be the trigger to help this neighborhood. This is a start, and we hope it builds.”
Home Savings donated the house to the YNDC, which spent $20,000 to improve the three-bedroom Cape Code house and is finalizing a $25,000 sale to Ramos, who’s lived in Boardman the past seven years.
Ramos said she’s thrilled to move into the neighborhood.
“This is my first house; I’ve rented before,” she said. “I’m so excited. That’s why I can’t stop smiling.”
The YNDC is in the process of doing a similar rehabilitation project to 3402 Lenox Ave., across the street from Ramos’ house, said Ian Beniston, the agency’s executive director, who was officially promoted to that job Monday by the YNDC board of directors after four years as deputy director.
Since January, the YNDC has boarded up nine vacant properties in the neighborhood, he said.
The neighborhood is bounded by Midlothian Boulevard on the south, Loveland Road on the east, Poland Avenue on the north and Interstate 680 on the west.
There are about 30 houses identified by the YNDC in need of demolition and dozens that are not up to city code, with most of them concentrated on and near Lenox, Point View and Nelson avenues, Comely Street and Powers Way.
“We still have work to do, but things are getting much better,” said Nora Seivert, president of the Powerstown Block Watch.