Late last week, the City of Youngstown approved a study of blighted and abandoned properties. As WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports, one neighborhood group is already compiling data on the city’s vacant homes.
By the end of this month, the Youngstown Neighborhood Redevelopment Corporation should complete its count of abandoned properties in the city. Executive Director Ian Beniston says the goal is different from the city’s survey of blighted properties.
“I’m not an expert on slum and blight analysis but it’s more than just counting. I believe the city already knows, generally, what’s vacant in those areas. They’re doing a deeper analysis to see if they can classify them as slum and blight areas. And then I believe that there’s acquisition tools they can utilize.
“What we’re doing is simply counting every vacant structure and giving it a simple rating throughout the whole city. We’re not going into the extent of whatever’s required for slum and blight analysis. Ours is more for purposes of neighborhood stabilization, demolition [and] renovation.”
The city’s study will assess four specific areas for redevelopment for light industrial use. The two surveys come just as the U.S. Treasury Department announced its latest round of Hardest Hit Funds, which include $97 million for Ohio to demolish abandoned or blighted properties.