YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – For the first time ever, the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation is building brand new homes instead of renovating old ones.
Four years ago, backhoes tore down vacant houses on Helena Avenue. Now they’re back again but this time, they’re building new homes in the Handels Neighborhood.
YNDC broke ground on the first of its three new houses Thursday.
The group put together a special funding program to help cover the gap between the cost of building a new home and what it can actually be sold for in the city.
“If there is a loss, the grant covers it and allows us to do it,” said YNDC Director Ian Beniston. “The homes are going to be awesome. They will be three bedroom, two bath, open floor concept, high-quality materials throughout. These will not be cookie-cutter suburban homes.”
Beniston said this project won’t be too different from its other renovation projects, especially since they figured out how to make funding work.
“Once we were able to do that, I think it was a natural fit for this to be the first street we tried it on. We also have great neighbor support here and other projects we’ve done on the street right now.”
For the people living in the Handels Neighborhood, this is more than just a construction project. It’s a sign their neighborhood is coming back from the brink of decline.
Neighbors were glad to see the old houses come down. They’re even more excited to see the new homes going up.
“There were a lot of houses that were in horrible, horrible shape that have been torn down. Green space was put in and now with YNDC doing this project, it’s just amazing what’s going to happen,” Dave Starr said.
Neighbors worked hard to bring their neighborhood back to its former glory.
“You got to have teamwork. You have to have people you can rely on when you need help and we have teamwork in this area,” Doug Woods said.
Construction costs should be around $250,000 per home. They will be sold for market value — about half that amount — when they’re done in October.