YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Out of two potential programs to beautify Youngstown, one is specific to a single neighborhood and will cost the city nothing, while the other will cost over $1 million but is good anywhere in the city.
The bend on Market Street on Youngstown’s south side, specifically the Shell station, is the city’s number one crime hot spot. It’s in Councilwoman Anita Davis’ Sixth Ward.
“There was one point it was just like something out of a movie. People up on cars, things like that,” she said.
Davis was among the council members on the Housing, Community, and Economic Development Committee who heard from the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation Wednesday evening about an $850,000 grant.
YNDC, Youngstown State, and the City of Youngstown applied for the Byrne Grant through the Justice Department. The money would be spent to reduce crime and eliminate blight only in the neighborhoods along the Market Street and South Avenue corridors.
“This really revolves around making this the cleanest area of the city, so addressing the blight, cleaning it up, boarding everything up,” said Ian Beniston, with YNDC.
The Bryne Grant money would be used to help small businesses, rehabilitate housing, fund programs for repeat criminals and youth, and rental registration.
“We have a 3,000 to 4,000 structure housing problem,” said Finance Director Dave Bozanich.
He spoke about a new program called “Live Youngstown,” where the city would grant $1.5 million to YNDC to pay for water and wastewater-related issues for people looking to buy and live in Youngstown. With the money, the organization thinks they can fix up about 100 homes.
“I’m sure all of you get, ‘Why aren’t you renovating homes? Why aren’t you doing more to bring people into the city? Why aren’t you making the neighborhoods more livable?’ Things of that nature. I think this is going to have a pretty dramatic step toward accomplishing that,” Bozanich said.
The meeting amounted to how YNDC was going to spend $2.3 million in taxpayer money — some federal, some city. Councilman Nate Pinkard wanted something in return.
“I would like to see a little bit more accountability and some reporting back to council on how the program is functioning. We don’t get that,” he said.
The committee should know by summer if it will get the Byrne Grant.
Council is expected to vote on the $1.5 million Live Youngstown grant next Wednesday.