Campbell lays out plan for demolitions
CAMPBELL — It’s been said that sometimes you have to tear it down to build it back up.
The city has received a significant financial boost in its continued and proactive efforts to move forward on that trajectory — to the tune of about $1.2 million.
“About 17 percent of Mahoning County demolitions are here in Campbell,” city Law Director Brian Macala said after Wednesday’s council meeting.
The $1.2 million to be allocated to the city is part of $6.86 million the Gov. Mike DeWine administration allocated to Mahoning County on Tuesday from the Ohio Building Demolition and Site Revitalization Program. The money will go toward 596 countywide demolition projects — including 105 in Campbell.
Of the 596 projects, 570 will be in Youngstown and Campbell, which have the highest and second highest number of such properties, respectively, Macala noted.
The funds will be used to demolish vacant and blighted structures, which will create another pathway for greater economic development as well as more housing opportunities, commercial and industrial uses and greenspace.
Beforehand, each of Campbell’s four councilmen — Robert Stanko, Timothy O’Bryan, Steve Cappitte and Joseph Mazzocca Jr. — assessed their wards to ascertain which structures should be placed on a master list, which was then submitted to the Mahoning County Land Bank. Afterward, the results were sent to the state, the law director explained.
“The Land Bank took the initiative on this,” Macala said, adding that he’s grateful to the agency and Deb Flora, its executive director, for their efforts aimed at tackling the city’s blight problem.
Many of the structures that need to be razed were lived in by workers at the Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co.’s Campbell Works, in the 1st Ward, before Sheet & Tube and other major steel mills closed in the late 1970s and early 1980s, leading to massive job and population losses in the Valley.
The goal is to have all 105 structures demolished by May 2023, but those deemed as an imminent threat of collapsing or a danger to neighbors, for example, will receive a higher priority to be taken down sooner, Macala noted.
Also at the meeting, police Chief Kevin Sferra said his department is accepting applications through Dec. 16 for those interested in taking the next civil service exam to join the force. The test is scheduled for Jan. 3 at city hall, he noted.
Sferra was a lieutenant in the department before being appointed as acting chief when Patrick Kelly left in July. He was then sworn in as chief Nov. 2.
Sferra listed as top department priorities continuing proactive policing as well as being active and visible in the community. The department has worked with the local United Way agency to deliver monthly meals to about 25 families who had signed up, Sferra explained.
“We try to give back to the community,” he added.
Also at the session, Mayor Bryan Tedesco announced a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony set for 4:30 p.m. Dec. 17 at Roosevelt Park. The free holiday- and family-themed event will include a horse-drawn carriage, treats for children and an appearance by Santa Claus, Tedesco said.