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Rocky Ridge Neighborhood Action Team Racks Up Successes

Thursday, March 12, 2015

On Tuesday, March 10th, the Rocky Ridge Action Team met to discuss the status of blighted homes in the neighborhood, as well as to identify resident priorities for action during the coming year. Formed in 2014 and comprised of city officials, community members, and YNDC staff, the team has already achieved impressive results. At a workday in 2014, five of the most blighted homes in the neighborhood were boarded, secured, and cleaned up by residents and volunteers. One severely deteriorated home was demolished by a private owner who donated funds to landscape the lot, plant trees, and install a bench. Another blighted home will be demolished this spring and the land transferred to an adjacent homeowner. Ten properties with code violations have been brought into compliance through collaborative efforts between YNDC and the City’s Code Enforcement department. One home was repaired for a low-income resident through YNDC’s Paint Youngstown program. Additionally, all seven non-functioning streetlights have been repaired or replaced by Ohio Edison.

More work is planned for 2015. A second neighborhood cleanup will be held on Saturday, May 16th to secure and clean up additional vacant properties. Councilman Mike Ray is working with YSU’s Center for Urban and Regional Studies to develop an inventory of Mahoning Avenue businesses in order to reach out to owners to discuss increased collaboration and how the City can assist in strengthening the corridor. The Rocky Ridge Neighborhood Association is planning a public art project to beautify an abandoned gas station in the neighborhood. The association has also been working with the City’s sign shop to create new street signs with the neighborhood logo, and it has engaged Youngstown Design Works to create unique banners that represent the spirit of the community. The new signs and banners will be installed on main streets through the neighborhood. Production of the neighborhood’s famed maple syrup is also starting this week. The City’s Code Enforcement Department is working to bring 18 additional blighted properties into compliance and the Mahoning County Land Bank is planning to demolish 12 vacant, severely deteriorated houses later this year. The next team meeting will be held in June.