Youngstown City Council sent a zone change request to the planning commission Wednesday night. It wants to change the zoning of some south side Youngstown land to single-family residential so Councilman Julius Oliver and his fiancée can build their dream home.
Not many new houses get built in Youngstown. In the past six years, there have only been eight.
In comparison, Canfield Township has built 196 houses since 2013 and Poland Township has built 90.
First Ward Councilman Julius Oliver plans to build a 4,000 square foot, $400,000 home at the corner of E. Woodland and South avenues, where you can see the Youngstown skyline through the trees.
It’s been at least 50 years since houses were on these lots. There are remnants of an old stairway — the bricks having been made in Youngstown.
Oliver hopes this will be a catalyst for more people staying or moving back into Youngstown.
“When I’ve talked to people, they have said, ‘You’re building a house where?’ Like, ‘You’re building it where? No, you’re trippin’, you gotta be out of your mind.'”
The basement and garage will be built into a hill, with two stories above it.
There are no drawings yet of the outside but his architect at Master Plan Builders has an idea.
“Paying homage to Youngstown and its history with steel, and at the same time, bringing it into a contemporary modern house,” Oliver said.
He could better explain the lay of the house from on the hill.
“The front of the house will kind of be northeast but off the side, there’s going to be a deck built and that deck is going to have glass walls on the side, and we’re going to be able to see directly into downtown,” Oliver said.
Youngstown Mayor Tito Brown commends him.
“You’re going to have to have bold initiatives like that for individuals like him to say, ‘I want to reinvest back in the City of Youngstown,'” Brown said.
“You don’t have to move to the suburbs. You don’t have to move out of town,” Oliver said. “We can start buying back our own blocks and we can start rebuilding the neighborhood right here in the city.”
Oliver’s fiancée is Dr. Jazmine Sutton, who works at the Cleveland Clinic. Like Oliver, she, too, grew up on the south side and graduated from Youngstown City Schools.
“We want to set an example for the younger generation of Youngstown to see what can be done right here at home with hard work,” she said. “Hopefully, start a movement of people moving back into the city rather than out of Youngstown.”