YNDC sends postcards to Vision Property Management leadership
By Graig Graziosi
Employees and nearly a dozen volunteers at the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp. spent Wednesday evening preparing scores of postcards, but rather than a glossy depiction of a beach or a sunset behind a lighthouse, the cards bore the image of a crumbling house on Youngstown’s South Side.
The postcards are bound for Columbia, S.C., and are addressed to the neighbors of Vision Property Management CEO Alex Szkaradek and its chief business development officer, John Buerkert.
Vision Property Management is a realty company that deals in land contracts in poor neighborhoods, including throughout the city of Youngstown. YNDC says these land contracts are often predatory.
In addition to the picture of the dilapidated home – a Vision property at 226 East Lucius Ave. on the South Side – the postcard includes a photo of either Szkaradek or Buerkert and a QR code linking to a website where news stories of Vision Property Management’s practices have been compiled.
Ian Beniston, executive director of the YNDC, led a team of 45 volunteers to Columbia, S.C., on March 3 to attempt to pressure the company’s leadership into signing a community agreement that would curb their involvement in the city. The company did not comply.
“I haven’t heard anything from them since the trip,” Beniston said. “But we’ve had an outpouring locally of support, both from individuals who are in land contracts and the general public.”