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YNDC Annual Report Recaps 'Another Great Year' - Business Journal

The Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp., enjoyed “another great year,” reports its executive director, Ian Beniston, capped off by being chosen community development corporation of the year by the Ohio CDC Association.

YNDC distributed its annual report this week to news organizations, outlining its accomplishments, which also included receiving the Spirit of Excellence award from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency.

In 2014, Beniston reports, “We focused on building the foundation and partnerships necessary to increase our capacity to impact more neighborhoods, people and properties. This work has included the development of an AmeriCorps Vista project site, an AmeriCorps direct service site, creation of our own construction and property management team and the completion of a citywide neighborhood revitalization strategy and neighborhood action plans that will guide the stabilization of neighborhoods over the next five years.”

YNDC, five years old, cited other accomplishments in its 2014 annual report. Among them:

  • Reclaiming 64 lots that total nine acres.
  • Building 2,084 linear feet of split-rail fencing.
  • Supporting 12 urban farmers with materials to tend their plots.

At its Iron Roots Urban Farm on the south side of Youngstown, YNDC staff gave 27 free classes on farming and 28 classes on cooking more healthful meals.

Under its Paint Youngtown program, YNDC staff helped homeowners make limited repairs to their houses, executed and completed six full rehabilitations of owner-occupied houses

The community development corporation acquired 22 vacant blighted properties for rehabilitation and completed that rehabilitation on 14. In the process creating more than 125 construction jobs. It sold 11 of those rehabbed houses.

One YNDC goal is helping renters to become homeowners. To this end, the CDC provided U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development counseling to 47 homebuyers and taught five classes to 50 would-be homebuyers on how to manage their finances to qualify for home ownership.

Since Sept. 2, in unison with 16 AmeriCorps volunteers (10 of them residents of Youngstown), YNDC cleaned up and secured 213 vacant properties in 16 neighborhoods, repurposing two of those properties, rehabilitated six vacant houses and reclaimed one mile of sidewalks, restoring them to usable conditions. In addition, the volunteers removed 464 tires illegally dumped at those properties and collected 75,000 gallons of trash in contractor-size trash bags.

In addition to its staff, YNDC engaged more than 1,000 volunteers in the 16 neighborhoods where it worked to clean up and secure more than 100 vacant sites. Community workdays were held in eight neighborhoods: Crandall Park, Fosterville, Idora, Indian Village, Lincoln Knolls, Oak Hill and Rocky Ridge,

In developing its plans for this year, Beniston says, YNDC held 21 community meetings attended by more than 800 residents. This led to a detailed report on the condition in all neighborhoods in the city as well as the adoption of a U.S. Route 422 Corridor Redevelopment Plan in the “beginning stages of implementation.”

Five of the plans focus on eliminating blight: Cottage Grove, East High/Lansdowne, Kensington/Upper North Heights, Lansingville and Newport.

Core Funders of YNDC are the Raymomd John Wean Foundation, a community development block grant from Youngstown and a home investment partnership grant, also from Youngstown. Funding came from another 38 sources including banks, charitable foundations and federal government agencies.

YNDC received $2.9 million in grants in 2014 and will be reimbursed another $1.6 million for work done once it submits documentation that it’s completed that work.

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