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Government & Politics

Cleveland Councilman Wants Polycarbonate Instead of Plywood for Vacant Houses

photo of clear polycarbonate used to board up a vacant Cleveland home
KEVIN NIEDERMIER
/
WKSU

Some Cleveland city council members want to make it mandatory for vacant homes in the city to be boarded up with clear, high-strength polycarbonate rather than plywood.       

Cleveland’s Slavic Village neighborhood has about 1,000 vacant houses, and under a pilot project, about a third of them are boarded up with polycarbonate instead of plywood. Outside one of the homes, Councilman Tony Brancatelli says though using the clear material costs up to two times as much as plywood, it has many advantages -- including its strength.

“So you don’t get the re-entries you do with traditional boarding; you don’t have the vandalism, the theft, the safety and security issues you have with traditional boarding. And quite frankly it’s something that esthetically more pleasing to the neighborhood than a wooden board that’s aging and rotting in place.”

Brancatelli says plywood must be replaced frequently, which typically makes that technique as expensive as polycarbonate. And he says polycarbonate has less stigma than plywood, and makes selling the property easier.