YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – It has been in the works for more than three years, but the city of Youngstown is finally getting a handle on widespread dumping out on Youngstown’s east side.
The Sharon Line area covers much of Youngstown’s east side. It’s a large area and has lost most of its population over the last 30 years.
As people moved out, trouble moved in, according to Jennifer Jones, of Youngstown Litter Control.
“It’s one of the areas of the city that has lost a tremendous amount of population and unfortunately, when houses get abandoned, they become sites where people illegally dump,” Jones said.
The problem came to a head in 2015 when illegal dumps started causing major problems for city crews. That led to a sweeping plan.
“We finally came up with a plan to tackle it in 2017. It came to fruition in 2018, when they started to close off the roads and do aggressive demolition on houses that were part of the Sharon Line,” Jone said.
Entire blocks of abandoned houses were bulldozed. Streets were closed off, and nature is taking over.
“We are trying to clean it block by block, area by area,” said Michael Durkin, the superintendent of code enforcement.
“People don’t want to see a street close, and they don’t want to see part of the city closed up, but if there are no houses there, and it’s a shame, but there is still so much dumping that goes on in those areas,” Durkin said.
When the demolition plan started, the city had more than 10,000 abandoned houses to deal with. Many of them were in the Sharon Line.
“We are getting there, considering what we had — over 10,000. We are down to about between 2,000 and 2,500. We are getting there,” Durkin said.
The hope is to spread the success from the east side across other parts of the city.