EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) – The city of East Liverpool is starting a new blight remediation project. Officials hope this will continue the city’s revitalization.
Demolition took place Monday morning at a house that is one of 16 abandoned homes on Erie Street. It’s also one of 450 abandoned homes in East Liverpool, according to the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation (YNDC).
A lot of work is still to be done with demolishing old homes, but officials say this is a step forward for the city.
The demolition was the start of a blight remediation and demolition project in East Liverpool. Several officials witnessed the demolition of the home on Erie Street — one of many that are expected to be torn down.
“They’re not all homes where we can just come in and foreclose on someone. We don’t want to do that, but we want to clean up the neighborhood so that the people that do want to live here have a nice place to live,” said Bryan Blakeman, treasurer for Columbiana County.
Vito Abruzzino, prosecuting attorney for Columbiana County, says they can be a threat to the community.
“They are a nuisance. They are dangerous to passers-by and children and other folks in the area. They really just need to come down,” Abruzzino said.
Multiple partners are teaming up for the project, including YNDC and the Columbiana County Land Bank. These partnerships will help with the efficiency of the project.
“Without that partnership, we wouldn’t be able to have such rapid acquisitions of property here in the county,” said Haedan Panezott, executive director of the Columbiana County Land Bank.
East Liverpool Mayor Greg Bricker says the project will also redevelop old homes and build new ones.
“We haven’t had a new construction home in the city for well over 10 years. So that’s the true goal of all this and to get young people back,” Bricker said.
Neighbors on Erie Street are ready for more demolitions.
“It just, it makes it more appealing to the eye with the buildings being down. The more that they can take down, the better,” said neighbor Cathy Carter.
Neighbor Edwin Hibbs says the project will help solve other problems on his street. He’s also optimistic about what could come from the project.
“I’m glad, you know, it makes my day. Whatever, you know, get all the druggies and the squatters and everything out of here. Maybe put a playground in here for the kids,” Hibbs said.
The city of East Liverpool has already demolished 40 homes. Mayor Bricker says he hopes around 50 more are demolished by the end of this year.
But how is the city finding these homes to demolish? A lot of them are foreclosures.
The blight issue is not just in East Liverpool but across the county.
Abruzzino said 226 foreclosures were done last year in Columbiana County. This year, the county is up to 163 foreclosures. So, this project will take a number of years to complete.