Historical Warren mansion to house returning veterans

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) — Veterans returning from active duty will have a new place to call home thanks to a national television show.

The Trumbull County Land Bank program worked with “This Old House” to give an 1800s vintage mansion away for free to anyone who could afford to fix it up. A Youngstown resident was approved to begin converting the mansion into apartments for veterans.

“Some previous estimates for renovation of that property for a variety of uses were all around a half million dollars. It’s a fairly high dollar renovation, a lot more work needed than our average house. So we knew we would need to cast a wider net to find a buyer,” said Matt Martin of the Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership.

So the organization used some out-of-the-box marketing to help the Trumbull County Land Bank give new life to a Queen Anne mansion on North Park Avenue near downtown Warren.

“It’s kind of unique that this property got mentioned in ‘This Old House.’ We have always thought that we have a lot of jewels here in Warren that unfortunately some of them we were tearing down,” said Trumbull County Treasurer Sam Lamancusa.

The property appeared on the show and its website and calls started rolling in from around the nation. A Youngstown resident qualified first for the property, with plans and financing to use it as apartments for veterans returning from active duty.

“The focus really is very much on home ownership and owner occupancy. Home ownership is a primary goal of the program. We want people to move into these houses,” Martin said. “I don’t think it was particularly realistic for this house to be restored to owner occupant status. But this way, it’s still able to be architecturally restored to its former glory and also utilized for a good cause.”

Operators of the Trumbull County Land Bank program are hoping to continue to raise awareness for the homes they have available. Since its creation, the land bank has helped return more than 600 properties to active use.

“The ultimate goal of Land Bank is to revitalize neighborhoods and communities, bring market value back up on properties and just get derelict vacant properties back to productive use in the community,” said Shawn Calvin of the Trumbull County Land Bank.

In order to buy one of the homes from the Land Bank, bidders must show they can afford to repair the homes and usually must live there for at least three years.

For a list of the available properties, click here.

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