Non-profit looks to demolish nearly 800 abandoned houses in Youngstown

Local News

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Youngstown could be close to getting rid of many of the abandoned houses in the city.

The Mahoning County Land Bank said with the help of a state grant, the project could be finished within the next two years.

One of the homes under control of the Land Bank is on Oakland Avenue in the Brier Hill area. It’s been vacant since the owner passed away.

“The floors are giving way, so there’s no safe way to walk through that house. Every system in that house pretty much has failed, heating, the windows, the doors, everything,” said Debora Flora with the Land Bank.

The house faces similar issues as many other vacant homes. It would cost more money to repair than to tear down, so the plan is to bring the house and many others down.

“We know that in the City of Youngstown there are approximately 800 houses that are in demolition condition,” Flora said.

The Land Bank received $500,000 from the state for property demolition. There is some state money left over that the Land Bank will ask for, with some being matched by the city.

Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation goes through a checklist if a house needs taken down.

“They are evaluating the exterior top to bottom and where there is a failure of multiple items on that list that puts it more towards the demolition category than renovation,” Flora said.

If more money is granted the hope is they will be close to the finish line.

“In the next couple of years, there may no longer be a need for mass residential demolition in Youngstown because we can take care of it in the very near future,” Flora said.

Vacant houses can be an eyesore but they also cause a safety hazard for first responders. With less vacant houses means it can become a positive.

“It’s great that arson calls are down. It’s great that injuries to firefighters are being reduced because these houses are going away,” Flora.

There are about 200 vacant. homes outside of Youngstown that the land bank is looking at as well.

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