Vacant houses have been a problem in Trumbull County for more than 20 years, but neighbors and a local group are trying to push for more action against the blight.
There are over 3,000 abandoned homes in the county. The Trumbull County Land Bank is trying to renovate or demolish them.
The land bank has been so ahead of schedule, that it’s actually increased its budget four times over — but there’s still a lot of work ahead.
“A lot of these homes have potential. Some of them are starting to deteriorate,” said Mark Waltko, who’s lived in northwest Warren for 45 years.
Waltko’s parents used to own the Isaly’s Dairy on Parkman Road. Over the years, he’s watched the area change.
“There’s good people, but there’s bad homes. A big part of the problem was the job losses,” he said.
Warren has about 1,500 vacant homes, with another 1,500 just outside the city.
Shawn Carvin, with the land bank, said there are three houses that will soon be demolished and another that was newly renovated. All of them are on the same street.
“We’re seeing a lot of that blight still in these neighborhoods, but we are getting rid of the worst of the worst,” Carvin said.
The land bank has demolished nearly 500 vacant homes in the last four years. Carvin is hopeful they can do another 500 in the next two years.
“So that we can tear those down to help the community, and help reduce blight and reduce the eyesores in the neighborhood,” he said.
The process of obtaining a house and demolishing it can take over a year.
Renovated homes are often sold to next-door neighbors, but there are still many more that need attention.
“I’m trying to stay positive and making a difference by getting people involved,” Waltko said.
Carvin said they’re already aware of many of the vacant houses in Trumbull County, but if you have any in your neighborhood that you’d like to report, you can submit a request online.