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Tear down dilapidated housing, South Side residents say.

Published: Wed, March 5, 2014 @ 12:06 a.m.

By Sean Barron



Barbara Franklin is frustrated with having to live between two houses that have fallen into disrepair.

Another source of frustration is what she sees as ambitious plans to tackle the challenges of blighted city neighborhoods that too often lead to inaction.

“I’d like to see the two homes torn down, remodeled or converted to starter homes,” said Franklin, who’s lived in her Idlewood Avenue residence on the South Side about 40 years.

Franklin was among those who voiced such concerns during Tuesday’s Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp. meeting at the Newport branch of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, 3730 Market St. on the South Side.

The one-hour session was the second of nine meetings to collect residents’ input, concerns and priorities regarding what they feel is vital for neighborhood improvements and stabilization on citywide and neighborhood levels.

Such feedback is to be incorporated into data to develop a variety of strategies to meet those goals within a framework of limited financial resources, noted Ian J. Beniston, YNDC’s deputy director.

Franklin, a Sheridan Block Watch member, said she doesn’t understand why some homes in her area have sat vacant for several years before being boarded.

“I just want to see some action done,” she continued, adding that she also lives across the street from a dilapidated apartment building, which adds to the blight.

During the session, which focused mainly on the South Side’s Cottage Grove, Newport and Pleasant Grove sections, Beniston discussed the areas’ crime and population trends, average household income, property ownership, poverty rates and other demographics.

A large challenge is that the average home price is $21,000 in a city that has seen more than 50 years of population decline, which erodes the tax base, he noted.

At the meeting, two people said they want to see more done to improve quality-of-life issues.

One man explained that he tries to spruce up abandoned properties in his neighborhood, yet doing so often disguises code violations.

One man said if the city had been enforcing housing codes at the beginning, abandoned blighted properties wouldn’t happen.

Clarence Boles, a community activist and former city councilman, called for residents to be more proactive in addressing their needs.

He also advocated selling more vacant lots and converting them to useful purposes.

Downtown Youngstown continues to grow, but working to better the city’s neighborhoods must continue to be an ongoing process, said Councilwoman Janet Tarpley, D-6th.

Another difficulty is that city-government funds have been cut by nearly half, noted state Sen. Robert F. Hagan of Youngstown, D-58th.

The next meeting is set for 6 p.m. Thursday at New Covenant Worship Center, 1900 Canfield Road, in the city’s Cornersburg area.


1author50(1121 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Downtown grows at THE expense of the neighborhoods. the amounts of taxpayer dollars spent on subsidy for bars and rental units far out pace the money spent on ALL quality of life issues in the cities seven wards.

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2lovethiscity(169 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Moffie...how many times must we suffer you trolling your same old line?

Please...illuminate us all on the vast contribution you have made to enhance the fabric of our city, community or region.

Oh...and typing the same worn out droll from your keyboard certainly doesn't count.

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3mishmash(333 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago


You are so correct, @author50 is just jealous that they did not subsidize the operations of his upper South Ave drug haven and instead, SHUT HIM DOWN.

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4DwightK(1535 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Gov Kasich has cut state spending in local communities and put more than a billion dollars into the state's rainy day fund. Well, for people in neighborhoods with abandoned houses it is pouring.

I'd like the governor to take some of our tax dollars and provide local communities with demolition grants to tear down these homes.

I'd also like the EPA to suspend regulations dealing with asbestos in these single family homes. The testing adds cost to the demo process and the small amount of asbestos in these homes shouldn't be a problem for the small amount of time it takes to bring down the home.

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5Roger_Thornhill(1063 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

The idea of rehabbing these wrecks is ridiculous. They must be torn down.

But as someone else posted, the EPA regs make it very expensive and difficult.

Part of the problem is too that you have "leaders" like Clarence Boles advocating selling the vacant property. Brilliant. NOBODY WANTS TO BUY THOSE VACANT LOTS!

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6dontbeafool(2067 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

I feel bad for those residence who do actually try to keep their homes presentable with the limited resources that they have. It would suck to live between two vacated houses which are about to fall down. Some streets in that area have 80% of the houses in that condition. We all know that those houses turn in to shelters for homeless, or drug houses. So if the owners of the propery cannot be held financially responsible, I agree with you Dwight. Mr. Kasich, send us some rainy day funds for demo.

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7republicanRick(1716 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Torch them !

City government won't help --
State government won't help --
Federal government won't help --

Take matters into your own hands and clean up your neighborhoods and protect your family.

Civil disobedience is needed. Burning down old homes is a victimless crime and improves neighborhoods and protects your investment.

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82muchtax(895 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

The city owns a track hoe and dump trucks, so use prisoners that volunteer via the sheriff dept. and start tearing Down houses! Tell Rick Sandberg the DB from the union to shut the hell up and stick any union grievances he has and get at tearing down houses! How about it Mayor McNally grow a set and call the SHERIFF green and get something done now that you have Ginetti and Green that are foward thinking and not useless like Wellington and Marsico

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