mentioned rightsizing all year. But since Mayor Byron Brown announced his
5 in 5 demolition plan in August of 2007, in which 5,000
structures would be demolished in 5 years, we still wonder what the plan is
regarding the footprints left behind as each house is demolished at a cost of
$16,000 or more.
and neighborhood gardens go only so far, and many lots are left to grow weeds. There
are whole streets on the East Side where the houses left are so sparse, that
the feeling is that the only thing missing is the barn and cows, though one
couple was able to farm this last year.
This article by Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for
Historic Preservation looks at the impact vacant houses have on a neighborhood,
while cautioning that patience and prudence must be used in planning the
removal of abandoned houses.
Moe writes: Plenty of other cities — from
Detroit and Flint to Buffalo, Cleveland and Baltimore
— face the same challenge. Youngstown’s approach offers an instructive model
for these places, but it would be a mistake to see it as a one-size-fits-all
panacea. Youngstown is navigating uncharted waters, but at least it is taking
positive action. The alternative — doing nothing — is not a viable option.
are interested in what our options might look like should read this 2008 report
from Joseph Schilling, associate director of the Green Regions
Initiative of the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech University
titled Buffalo as the Nation’s First Living
Laboratory for Reclaiming Vacant Properties. The article cites Blueprint
Buffalo, a report from the National Vacant Properties Campaign (Campaign)
and Local Initiatives Support Corporation — Buffalo (LISC-Buffalo) that
outlines a strategy to rebuild the Buffalo.
In the meanwhile, maybe a few more farms will sprout up.
Update: See this Elizabeth Lunday article from the Urban Land Institute, Shrinking Cities, U.S.A.