YOUNGSTOWN - With the recent approval of 21 home demolitions, the city is on pace to have 97 houses demolished since September.
By the end of the year, Deputy Director of Public Works Charles Shasho says the city should have 300 homes knocked down.
The late push comes from money the city received from $1 million from state Attorney General Mike DeWine's office from a national mortgage settlement case. Dubbed the Moving Ohio Forward Demolition Program, the initiative is intended to stabilize communities by demolishing blighted and abandoned homes.
Tribune Chronicle file photo
This house on High Street was demolished in August during state Attorney General Mike DeWine’s kickoff of a statewide blight initiative.
In August, DeWine kicked off the statewide program at a house on High Street.
The city's Board of Control approved three separate contracts at the their last meeting with seven homes slated to be demolished on the South Side, eight on the East Side and six on the North Side with three different contractors.
Total cost to the city for the demolitions is almost $68,000.
Youngstown is on pace to knock down 97 houses since September and 300 for the year.
Mayor Charles Sammarone wants to raze 1,000 houses by the end of his term.
Demos are often aimed at neighborhoods instead of scattered across the city.
Mayor Charles Sammarone said demolition is one of his top priorities because he believes the city can not make a comeback unless it cleans up neighborhoods and attracts new residents and also to keep residents from leaving.
Besides the demolitions, the city is also stepping up code enforcement to either get blighted properties cleaned up or get them on a demolish list.
Sammarone said the city needs to add to its list of contractors in the upcoming months to keep up with the demand because inspectors who are inspecting sites have been swamped with work.
''We have houses ready to go,'' Sammarone said.
Shasho said the demolitions often target specific areas or neighborhoods because it makes a greater impact than taking down scattered houses across the city.
He said that he hopes to have another 40 demolitions approved by the end of the year and expects more in 2013 because the mayor has made it a priority.
DeWine's office made $75 million available statewide for the demolition grants. Mahoning and Trumbull counties received $1.5 million and and $1.2 million respectively. Both counties received the full amounts for which they were eligible.
The attorney general's office has given communities until Dec. 31, 2013, to use the funds.