City OKs More Funds for Oak Hill Green Space

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – A long-abandoned church on Oak Hill Avenue should be demolished for use as green space by the end of April, a city official said Thursday.

The Board of Control approved increasing its financial commitment to $8,000 for asbestos abatement and demolition of the old Clarence Robinson Church, 1705 Oak Hill Ave.

Last November, the board approved allocating $5,000 for the work, with the Oak Hill Collaborative and St. Patrick Church providing another $5,000. Costs came in at $12,500, said Abigail Beniston after the meeting. Beniston is code enforcement and blight remediation superintendent.

“It’s a very old, dilapidated little church,” she said. “We had previously entered into an agreement with the Oak Hill Collaborative to abate the asbestos and demolish the structure. The increase is due to the asbestos bids that we got.”

The Mahoning County Land Reutilization Corp. – better known as the county land bank – acquired the property from Pettway Enterprises in January.

The asbestos abatement is scheduled to begin April 1. “It shouldn’t take too long,” Beniston said. “I would say within three to four weeks the site will be demolished.”

Once the property is cleared, it will be turned over to Oak Hill Collaborative, 507 Oak Hill Ave. The collaborative doesn’t have a plan for the site “other than maybe to have a green space there,” Pat Kerrigan, executive director, said. The collaborative, St. Patrick’s garden crew and Community Corrections Association Inc. would maintain the site.

“Among other things, we do neighborhood beautification and community organizing,” Kerrigan said. He went around the neighborhood and secured 250 signatures to have the building razed, he said.

“It will be nice to have a park and that may be the end result, but it always will be available for some public purpose,” Kerrigan said.

Pictured: Former church at 1705 Oak Hill Ave.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.