The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

March 11, 2014

Properties may be counted and graded to determine which ones will be demolished

ASHTABULA — City officials are looking at identifying and grading every single vacant building in the city. That’s 11,568 parcels in Ashtabula.

Vacant houses that get a grade of “D” or “F” will be demolished or if the owner can, be rehabilitated. Otherwise, the abandoned structured will be cleared for green space.

Sarah Ryzner and Paul Boehnlein from the Western Reserve Land Conservancy gave a presentation to City Council during a work session Monday afternoon at the Municipal Building. About a dozen residents and community  leaders attended the meeting, as well.

The WRLC is a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to preserving the natural resources of northern Ohio. They work with landowners, communities, government agencies, parks and other nonprofits to permanently protect natural areas and farmland.

Ryzner and Boehnlein spoke for a little more than an hour about how they would inventory all residential and commercial properties in the community. The end result would be identification of all the vacant and abandoned properties, information on the condition of the properties and needed information to apply for demolition money.

Ryzner, with help from college interns, will walk the entire city this summer taking pictures and notes.

City Manager Jim Timonere said the project not only eliminates blight, but reduces crime.

Boehnlein said studies show the project is a tool for neighborhood stabilization.

Ryzner said it will help city officials “take the city where you want it to go.”

Council President J.P. Ducro IV said it was an excellent presentation. He believes it will be good for Ashtabula.

Ryzner said to survey only the residential properties will cost $25,000. She will get back with the city manager for a price on both residential and commercial, which is what the majority of council talked about doing.

“We could get grant money to help pay for it,” Timonere said. “It sounds promising.”

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