YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – City planners in Youngstown have made it clear — their focus is saving neighborhoods that can still be saved by spending money to keep them viable before they get to the point where they’re beyond help.
Two of those neighborhoods are Handel’s and Lincoln Knolls.
The Lincoln Knolls neighborhood on Youngstown’s east side broke ground Thursday afternoon for a new park.
Wednesday night, in the south side Handel’s neighborhood, several posed for a picture at a renovated triplex.
The Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation was part of both projects in what Executive Director Ian Beniston called “middle neighborhoods” — ones that are showing stress but aren’t loaded with vacant properties.
“Those in the middle are the ones we really need to focus on stabilizing because it’s very important for the future of the city to preserve the density, preserve the integrity of the neighborhood, preserve the population,” he said.
Beniston considers both Handel’s and Lincoln Knolls to be middle neighborhoods, along with Idora, Pleasant Grove, Brownlee Woods, Rocky Ridge and Crandall Park.
Handel’s was built in the early 1900s. Where houses were torn down, YNDC is now building new ones.
“It got worse and now it got better — a lot better,” said Barb Norris, who lives in the Handel’s neighborhood. “Now everybody cares about their houses.”
Dave Starr, president of the Handel’s Neighborhood Association, said you save old neighborhoods like his one building at a time.
Lincoln Knolls is a post-WWII neighborhood which also had problems but is showing improvements. The community had a high number of landlords who ignored their properties, which neighbors dealt with themselves.
“We would have work days with YNDC,” said Marguerite Douglas, with the Lincoln Knolls block watch. “With these workdays, we were able to clean up the properties that had trash and tires. They became dumping grounds.”
“Even here in Lincoln Knolls, we’ve been working actively for well over four years,” said. “The county land bank’s torn down a number of homes. Earlier this summer, we sold a home we just renovated on Duncan Lane and we’re going to be working on another vacant one here soon. Renovating a lot of owner-occupied homes, so helping homeowners that need assistance.”