City Council agrees to spend $ 8 million to demolish vacant homes | News, Sports, Jobs

YOUNGSTOWN – City Council has approved spending $ 8 million to demolish 500 of Youngstown’s worst vacant homes as well as requesting $ 1.6 million in grants for a downtown improvement project.

The $ 8 million is believed to come from the $ 82,775,370 the city received from the US federal bailout law, with work starting early next year.

In addition, the city will apply for state grants with help from the Mahoning County Land Bank, which would allow them to leverage ARP money and potentially demolish a total of around 800 abandoned homes over a period of time. 18-month-old Michael Durkin, code superintendent of law enforcement and burn elimination, said.

The city will seek state grants of up to $ 9 million with a local match of $ 3 million, Durkin said. If that happens, the city will use $ 3 million from the ARP fund for demolition and use the unused portion of the $ 8 million allocation approved by council on Wednesday to other uses permitted under the federal program, did he declare.

The city had 869 abandoned houses at the last count.

“It’s amazing,” said Durkin. “This is a final mass demolition where we can get to rehabilitate other structures and get out of the demolition activity. We would be reduced to 50 demolitions per year once that was done.

Council also voted 6-1 Wednesday to approve orders allowing the control board to seek a state grant of $ 1.3 million and $ 300,000 in federal funds for a downtown improvement project. in sections of Walnut and Boardman streets.

The ordinances have been carried over to previous meetings, with some council members claiming too much money has been spent on downtown streets rather than hallways and neighborhoods.

The project is estimated at $ 2.86 million, with the $ 1.26 million not being covered by grants paid by the city.

Charles Shasho, deputy director of public works, told a finance committee meeting on Monday that since 2014 the city has used grants from the Ohio Public Works Commission for $ 22 million in improvements – including $ 5.5 million from the city – including approximately $ 16.3 million for neighborhood and corridor projects.

The deadline to apply for the state grant is Friday. Shasho said the application was ready and he was confident the city would get state and federal grants.

The project includes the reduction of the number of vehicular lanes, the paving of the roads, the works of streetscape, the improvement of the lighting, the addition of green spaces as well as a staircase on Walnut Street between the streets. Commerce and Wood.

The only no vote for state ordinances and federal grant applications came from City Councilor Anita Davis, D-6th Ward, who was consistent in her opposition to the project saying that the city’s money could be better spent.

Also on Wednesday, council voted 6-1 in favor of purchasing $ 420,000 for the purchase of seven SUVs and equipment needed for the police department’s community policing program.

The vehicles would be used exclusively by community police officers, Police Chief Carl Davis said. He pointed out that community policing officers can be called in to support other officers at any time so that vehicles can be used for this purpose.

Due to staffing issues in the police department, community workers are not assigned exclusively to these tasks, Davis said.

The only vote against came from Councilor Jimmy Hughes, D-2nd Ward, a former police chief.

Hughes did not explain his vote.

Just two weeks ago, Hughes was the only council member to vote against a three-year contract for the Police Patrollers Union. He declined to discuss his reasons for opposing the contract.

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