YNDC, Mahoning Land Bank team up to save vacant houses


By DAVID SKOLNICK

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

A partnership between the

Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp. and the Mahoning County Land Bank will save some vacant houses in the city from the wrecking ball.

“We’re bringing vacant properties back to life,” said Ian Beniston, YNDC’s executive director. “We’re trying to stabilize neighborhoods. We’ve received a lot of interest from people wanting to buy these houses.”

About six houses will go through this process this year and at least 10 next year, Beniston said.

The two agencies are teaming up to rehabilitate the empty structures. The land bank purchases the abandoned tax-delinquent homes and then turns them over to the YNDC, which improves them and sells the properties at market price.

“It’s important to have restoration of property and not just demolition,” said Debora Flora, the land bank’s executive director. “Most of our energy and funding is for demolition. But we also want to see restoration.”

The land bank is able to buy the properties and have the back taxes waived. In those cases, the land bank pays only a $550 fee to the county prosecutor’s office in foreclosure fees. YNDC pays the land bank that $550 to buy the houses it will rehabilitate and sell, Flora said.

YNDC is spending in the upper $30,000 range to improve 3215 Neosho Road, a South Side house vacant for about eight years, and will sell it for $65,000, Beniston said. There isn’t a buyer for the house, but Beniston expects to have one shortly.

The two agencies split the profits.

YNDC uses its portion to continue funding improvements for this program, Beniston said. The land bank uses its share for various neighborhood programs, Flora said.

Beniston and Flora talked about the program Monday in front of the 1,934-square-foot, two-story Neosho house built in 1947.

The improvement work, being done by YNDC employees and AmeriCorps members, includes a new roof, new windows, new furnace and hot-water tank, new plumbing as the original copper piping was stolen, new light fixtures and a new bathroom.

The work has been ongoing for about a month and should be finished in about two weeks.

Those interested in purchasing the rehabbed houses should call Tiffany Soko, YNDC’s housing director, at 330-480-0423.

Meanwhile, YNDC also is renovating a 1,723-square-foot duplex at 866 Canfield Road on the South Side that will be used to house AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps members who work with the agency, which provides adults the opportunity to perform community service work.

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