North side residents want help renovating vacant homes

The Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp. took center stage March 17 at the Wick Park Neighborhood Association’s monthly meeting. Members talked about the conditions of the neighborhood and asked residents what tops their list of concerns and priorities. Rick Pollo has more.

Tom Hetrick, a planner with the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp., said residents in all areas of the city are concerned with housing, code enforcement and demolitions. Residents on the North side also wanted help in purchasing and renovating existing structures. Rick Pollo/TheNewsOutlet.org

Tom Hetrick, a planner with the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp., said residents in all areas of the city are concerned with housing, code enforcement and demolitions. Residents on the North side also wanted help in purchasing and renovating existing structures. Chris Davidson/TheNewsOutlet.org

A crowd of more than 60 residents of the city’s North side showed up for the sixth neighborhood meeting conducted by the YNDC. Residents of the Wick Park, Crandall Park and Brier Hill neighborhoods all voiced their concerns.

On the minds of most residents: Vacant homes, and trying to purchase them after they’ve gone into foreclosure. Peggy Gurney, a resident and secretary/treasurer for the Wick Park Neighborhood Association, says the process hinders potential new residents and homeowners.

GURNEY: I just feel like every time there’s a meeting like this, they always talk demolition. They say population is declining, which it is true, but they’re also going to great economic lengths to get people to move back to the city, but what kind of housing is there going to be for them to move back to?

Gurney says the purchasing process is long and tedious, ultimately discouraging potential property buyers.

GURNEY: If they would move the process along so that people who really care about the housing stock can buy the houses, renovate them and sell them to the people that are moving back into the city.

YNDC neighborhood planner Tom Hetrick says the issue of vacant homes is a recurring topic across the city, and one the YNDC plans to analyze.

HETRICK: It’s definitely something we’ve been hearing a lot. Some of the top priorities that have come out of the meetings is housing, code enforcement, demolition-related. These are things that we’re going to have to sit down and examine in more depth, see what can be done to streamline them.

The next meeting will be March 20 at the Faith Community Covenant Church, 1919 E. Midlothian Blvd. 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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