AmeriCorps members target Youngstown blight

A team of young volunteers with Americorps is helping to fight blight in the city of Youngstown, Ohio.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Despite the near constant drizzle, the sounds of hedge trimmers, lawn mowers and other equipment filled a south side Youngstown neighborhood Monday morning. A team of young adults are trying to eliminate blight – one property at a time.

AmeriCorps NCCC member Spencer Liechty said the diverse group hails from many locations from California to Washington, D.C. They arrived in Youngstown last week and will be working with the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation (YNDC).

Volunteers will be cleaning up vacant and abandoned properties. One section targeted Monday was in the Idora neighborhood.

“Some of the weeds get overgrown. Some of the vacant lots get out control and it just doesn’t look great,” Liechty said. “We are here to kind of clean up the neighborhood.”

The group ranges in age between18 and 24. Regan Naughton is a recent high school graduate from New Hampshire who said she wanted something more than just an education.

“A lot of my friends were going straight to college, and I wasn’t a perfect fit for college yet. This was to help me gain the experience from college. I got to experience helping people and seeing communities grow in a good way,” Naughton said.

Neighbor Carmen Montgomery says she’s glad to see YNDC and the AmeriCorps workers targeting a house nearby. The owner died two years ago and the house has set empty ever since.

“You see what they are doing? They are cleaning it up,” Montgomery said.

The AmeriCorps members will be in the area through early November targeting 50 lots to be cleaned up.

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