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Demolition or Renovation Comes with Cost - WKBN

With the amount of abandoned buildings in Youngstown, many ask why not just tear them down.

While cost is a stumbling block, there are local programs that are working to help with the problem.

There are just about a dozen homes that are abandoned on Almyra Avenue alone, with windows boarded up or broken and others left in shambles.

“There are some that have been vacant for 10, 15, 20 years,” said Jennifer Jones, program coordinator for Green Youngstown. “Unfortunately, this area of the city [south side] is one of the hardest hit with population loss.”

The utilities have been shut off to many of the homes and are marked, but that does not mean the the house is coming down immediately, only that the process has started. Eventual demolition comes down to cost.

On average, the city of Youngstown spends about $8,000 to demolish a house. And that price tag does not include asbestos removal, which can be expensive.

“The abatement costs would be upwards of $50,000. So, to try and get as much bang for our buck and tear down as many homes as we can, we may put that on the back burner and try to identify a different program or something else that we can do with that structure,” said Abby Brubaker, Youngstown Blight Remediation Superintendent.

In the meantime, organizations like Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation help offer an alternative. They currently own 11 vacant houses that are in varying stages of renovation.

“We are trying to sell them to people again that are going to have some investment in the neighborhood, but also care about maintaining the property and generally raising the standard of maintenance on the block,” said Ian Beniston of the YNDC.

Earlier this year, YNDC worked with United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley and Green Youngstown to clean up 25 homes on the city’s north side, hoping that cleaning up small areas will spark neighbors to do the same on their properties.

To read the full story from WKBN, click here.