Growth in Idora neighborhood attributed to resident involvement

Vacant homes topped the agenda at the Idora Neighborhood Association meeting March 13. Members of the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp. attended the meeting as did News Outlet journalist, Rick Pollo. Here’s his report.

Ian Beniston, deputy director of the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp., says the growth in the Idora Neighborhood can be attributed to the active involvement residents, who created community gardens, sponsored beautification projects and boarded up vacant homes. Chris Davidson/TheNewsOutlet.org

Ian Beniston, deputy director of the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp., says the growth in the Idora Neighborhood can be attributed to the active involvement residents, who created community gardens, sponsored beautification projects and boarded up vacant homes. Chris Davidson/TheNewsOutlet.org

YNDC reports show the Idora neighborhood, has seen considerable growth over the last decade … Something YNDC Deputy Director Ian Beniston says is largely due to residents taking action.

BENISTON: I think they’ve played a significant role – I mean, they’re vigilant. They bring people out. They had volunteers out every day, getting things done, boarding up houses. Definitely set on continuing to improve the neighborhood.

Beniston says improvements like community gardens, beautification projects and blight removal, helped the neighborhood stabilize.

BENISTON: Getting houses boarded up as soon as they’re vacant, maintaining the vacant lots, keeping the grass cut. That’s what people are seeing when they come through here.

Vacant homes are still a primary concern. Youngstown’s planning director Bill D’Avignon says it’s no easy process to demolish a vacant structure.

D’AVIGNON: An inspector has to go out, conduct an inspection of that property, write it up and notify the property owner. Give him or her an adequate amount of time to address those issues. If they fail to correct those issues or appeal the notice, that’s when the process actually starts.

D’Avignon also says funding and environmental aspects have to be met before demolition can take place. City crews, the YNDC and property owners have demolished more than 100 homes during the past five years in the Idora neighborhood.

One unresolved issue in the neighborhood: the undeveloped property where Idora Park once operated. Mount Calvary Pentecostal Church purchased the 27 acres in 1985. It remains idle.

The YNDC holds its next meeting March 17. Reporting 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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