The strategy of tearing down or shuttering parts of a city hit by severe population loss first gained national notice in northeast Ohio. And, a dozen years after Youngstown began “right sizing” itself, the program is still going on.
With a population that has shrunk in the past forty years from over 150-thousand to less than 70-thousand, Youngstown has a lot of abandoned property.
That includes along the old Sharron trolley line right-of-way on the east side. Development Director Bill D’Avignon says streets in the four-mile-long area never did have many residents. “They were platted in the forties and fifties for growth that never really occurred. And that area is also experiencing population decline. And we have some streets that don’t serve anybody. There are some abandoned houses that we are going to remove, and then just block off the streets.”
Youngstown voters first approved the “right sizing” idea in 2003.