Land Bank Razes 128 Abandoned Houses

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Mahoning County Land Bank created a major impact in 2023 through its efforts to demolish abandoned properties and restore and revitalize local neighborhoods.

After securing more than $15 million in grants from the Ohio Department of Development in 2022, the Land Bank became heavily invested in administering residential demolition and brownfield cleanup work last year. By year’s end, it had managed the removal of 128 abandoned houses and two vacant commercial buildings.

In addition, the Land Bank continues to monitor remediation work at the former Royal Sebring China plant in Sebring and the 20 Federal Place building in downtown Youngstown.

Four employees were added to assist with demolition program management, and another part-time staff member will be added in 2024 to assist with native plant cultivation, organizing planting sessions and volunteer work days.

“We are excited about the improvements we made during 2023 to position us well to deliver an even larger impact this year,” says Debora Flora, executive director of the Land Bank.

Another 325 vacant houses, mostly in Youngstown, are scheduled for razing this year, she says.

A $20,000 grant from the Western Reserve Health Foundation will help expand the Land Bank’s greening initiatives. The grant funds will cover the cultivation of more native perennial plants at Youngstown CityScape’s inner-city greenhouse for use in greening sites cleared by demolitions.

The Land Bank, Western Reserve Port Authority and local partners have teamed up to request $7 million in state funding for 11 brownfield cleanup initiatives across Mahoning County, including nine in Youngstown. Awards are anticipated at about mid-year.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.