An Army National Guard unit is in Youngstown to demolish 28 vacant structures
By David Skolnick
An Army National Guard unit started demolishing 28 vacant houses, mostly on the South Side on Monday.
About 50 members of the 112th Engineer Battalion, based in Brook Park, will be in Youngstown until July 22 to take down the empty houses, Abigail Beniston, Youngstown’s code enforcement and blight remediation superintendent, said.
The battalion members arrived Saturday in Youngstown and did a walk-through of the demolition locations, she said.
The city’s board of control Monday approved a liability release with the city school district allowing the unit to use the former Sheridan School, 3321 Hudson St., as its base of operations and to store its equipment there.
Of the 28 houses being demolished by the battalion, 23 are on the South Side with the five others on the North Side, Beniston said.
The work being done will save the city $159,000 in demolition costs, she said.
The battalion is doing the demolition work as part of a program for its members to meet training and readiness requirements, she said.
“The goal is to demonstrate the training is a benefit to the [U.S. Department of Defense] to leverage that into a larger package of 100 to 200 homes” to demolish next year by National Guard units, Beniston said.
The city has unsuccessfully sought assistance from National Guard units the past three years for a major demolition program.
The battalion will use its own with its equipment for the demolitions, but city officials will be on-site to monitor the work being done, Beniston said.