Eight locations in the city have been deemed demolition priority areas. Last week, Marissa Williams and George Piscsalko, with Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, told members of City Council's Strategic Planning Committee that the first goal is to eliminate the estimated 19 fire-damaged properties as well as those properties that have become havens for crime and safety concerns.
"In making this plan, we're following the administration's desire to focus the demolitions around city schools and around the main corridors," Piscsalko said.
Demolitions will be done using the $1 million Warren has available from the Moving Ohio Forward fund.
Tribune Chronicle photo
This Raymond Street N.W. property is among many vacant structures peppering the streets of Warren.
Priority areas one and three are on the city's south side and focus around Jefferson and Willard K-8 schools. Priority area two focuses on properties on the city's northeast side near Warren G. Harding High School and Trumbull Memorial Hospital.
At the time the plan was created, the first three priority areas had a total of 136 homes that would qualify to be demolished with the grant. Since that time, more homes have been identified city-wide and placed on the demolition list.
The next largest number of properties to be demolished will be in priority area four, which is on the city's central and northwest side, where there are an estimated 75 properties that could come down.
Piscsalko and Williams drove around the city in April and May examining the 190 properties that were then on the city's demolition list and added another 250 homes that they believed needed to be placed on the list.
Today, there are approximately 265 homes on the city's demolition list and that number is expected to increase by another 20 or more within the next several weeks.
According to the Moving Ohio Forward fund, homes being town down in the community must be on its demolition list.
One of the priorities will be taking down houses in neighborhoods that may only have a few dilapidated buildings.
"Tearing down these few homes may make all the difference in the neighborhood," Williams said.
Some neighborhood leaders worry, however, that tearing down scattered homes is such a low priority that the city will use up all of its Moving Ohio Forward funds before it focuses on these types of demolitions.
Bob Weitzel of the Northwest Neighborhood Association described seeing kids with sleeping bags going into abandoned houses at 1079 and 1051 Raymond St., N.W.
"The neighbor cuts the front grass just to keep the appearance up," Weitzel said."These houses are abandoned, have been through the courts and have been on the city's demolition list for more than a year. Every time we think they are going to come down, something happens.
"For people living in this neighborhood removing them would be a huge priority," Weitzel said.
Not everyone wants the city to speed through the neighborhoods with bulldozers, though.
Myrtle Sisler, 1028 Raymond St., believes some homes, like the ones across from her, can be saved and occupied by families.
"The only thing that will happen is neighborhoods will become less safe, the city's population will continue to decline and the people who are left in the city will have to pay more in taxes," she said about demolitions. "We need to bring in more people into the city.''
Sisler said she needs good neighbors around her, not more vacant land.
Mayor Doug Franklin has said the TNP plan has been incorporated in the city's demolition program.
"There may be some changes over time based on conditions of buildings and public safety, but we will follow its framework," Franklin said. "It is important to have a framework in place. If we do not get through all of the houses in all of the eight priority areas using this money, our having a plan will help us in applying for money in the future."
Warren provided $500,000 to obtain a match of $500,000 from the Moving Ohio Forward fund, so it will have $1 million to tear down homes. The money came from money the city received by leasing the mineral rights to the old Avalon Golf Course, which the city owns. That amount will enable the city to tear down somewhere between 180 to 200 properties.
The Moving Ohio Forward Demolition Program is intended to stabilize communities by demolishing blighted and abandoned homes. The money comes from a national mortgage settlement reached earlier this year. Attorney General Mike DeWine's office said conservative estimates place the number of vacant and abandoned properties in Ohio at 100,000.
The attorney general's office has given communities until Dec. 31, 2013, to use the Moving Ohio Forward funds.