East side residents want more police near vacant properties

More than 50 residents packed the East Side Library March 25th for the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp.’s meeting. Topics including crime, drugs, vacant properties and a lack of city support were among the concerns raised by residents. Rick Pollo has more.

More than 50 East side residents attended a March 25 meeting, sponsored by the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp. Many expressed concerns over drug-related crimes, and lack of police presence and improvements to Lincoln Park. Rick Pollo/TheNewsOutlet.org

More than 50 East side residents attended a March 25 meeting, sponsored by the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp. Many expressed concerns over drug-related crimes, and lack of police presence and improvements to Lincoln Park. Rick Pollo/TheNewsOutlet.org

As the YNDC continues with its city-wide meetings, issues of crime, vacancies and miscommunication between residents and city officials keep surfacing. And it’s no different for residents of the city’s East Side: the Lincoln Knolls neighborhood and surrounding areas.

Resident Victoria Valentine says a lack of police support has led to heightened crime in her neighborhood.

VALENTINE: “In my neighborhood, it’s crime. Not enough police to patrol the area. And when I say crime – there’s a lot of drugs.

She feels that if the city were to invest more money on developing Lincoln Park, children would not be exposed to drug-related activity near vacant properties.

VALENTINE: I would like to see if they could put some money in there. If they would work on that park alone, that would take a lot of the kids in there off the streets where they will not have to deal with the drugs.

Resident Abdul Harris says he’s taken measures into his own hands, but wishes the city would do more to assist.

HARRIS: I don’t want these properties being turned into a garbage dump. I decided to take over with my own money, my own equipment – and now they’re nice green spaces.

Youngstown City Planner Bill D’Avignon says resources are limited in tackling all the issues at once.

D’AVIGNON: When all else fails, it kind of falls on the city and it’s expected that we can deal with that issue but the issue is so large scale that we really don’t have the resources to address all of the abandonment issues. Part of this is to develop a priority, what is most important and where it’s most important.

YNDC’s next meeting will be March 27 at the Oak Hill Collaborative. For TheNewsOutlet.org, I’m Rick Pollo.

TheNewsOutlet.org is a collaborative effort among the Youngstown State University journalism program, The University of Akron, Cuyahoga Community College and professional media outlets including, WYSU-FM Radio and The Vindicator (Youngstown), The Beacon Journal and Rubber City Radio (Akron).

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