The number of vacant properties in Youngstown is down. Ten years ago, there were 5,000. Right now, that number has been cut in half and that means big things for the city.
A survey of vacant properties in Youngstown has found a dramatic shift. There were 3,910 during the last survey two years ago, but in February, there were only 2,686.
“Certainly, we want the pace to be quicker, with estimates saying 30 percent in two years,” said Ian Beniston, with the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation. “That’s as good a rate as anywhere in the country.”
Beniston identified the center of the south side as an area where activity could be more aggressive to reduce vacancies.
The numbers reflect demolition by the city and county land bank, code enforcement to have owners improve properties and even YNDC fixing up houses.
“The housing situation and having vacant housing that can’t be repaired, that’s a challenge that we’ve needed to overcome for some time and it appears we’re finally getting somewhere,” said Deb Flora, with the Mahoning County Land Bank.
The land bank has done its part with 578 demos. That statistic is countywide, but 70 percent have been in Youngstown.
It will do another 400 before exhausting over $14 million of reimbursements by June 2019.
YNDC is fixing 90-year-old apartments on Clearmont Drive right now as part of a neighborhood revitalization. It has rehabbed 100 houses in the last three years.
Another home on Helena Avenue is also getting some improvements and will see people move in soon.
“From our perspective, the more that we can see renovated and reoccupied, that’s the best case scenario because that means more people living in the city, repopulating the neighborhoods, which is what we all want,” Beniston said.
One other benefit to reducing vacancies is improving home values. Median home values are going up in some pockets of the city.