Coming Monday, residents looking to improve their neighborhoods and expand their own property are taking advantage of the Trumbull County Land Bank program. The Land Bank has 22 abandoned houses for sell, 51 other properties ready for demolition and another 213 side lots available for sale.
WARREN Walter and Virginia Stec purchased the lot next to their 321 Washington St. N.E. home two years ago to continue improvements that began almost from the day they purchased the house in 1997.
Although an older home, the large brick two-story structure has for a long time stood out in the neighborhood.
Even as the area around them has stagnated, and in some cases deteriorated, the couple continued to improve their property adding screened in porches, a concrete patio and a new garage.
The addition of the 88-by-198-square-foot side lot enabled them to plant new grass, add 19 arborvitaes, a portable fire pit, a place for horseshoes and a hammock.
"We found out about the county's side lot program two years ago when the city was tearing down this historic house that was next to us," Virginia Stec said. "While we did not believe the house should have been torn down, we put in a bid to purchase the land."
For the Stecs, the idea of being able to expand their property through the Trumbull County Land Bank was perfect, because they wanted some place for their grandchild to play and their back yard was full.
Besides, they were already keeping the grass cut and bushes trim even before the house that was on the lot was torn down.
The side lot program is one of several projects of the Trumbull County Land Bank.
Read more about the Land Bank programs and other people who have taken advantage of them in Monday's Tribune Chronicle.