Housecleaning — sometimes literally sweeping a blighted house away — can have a very positive impact in a neighborhood and that’s why big cities have added a new line item to their budgets: Demolition. Youngstown made national news with their strategy of growing as a city by getting smaller, and now others like Detroit and our northshore cousins in Cleveland are all touting the merits of clearing out troubled buildings to make way for new ones.
Even here in Kent we’ve been applying for grant funds for the purpose of removing blighted properties and I think we’ve taken down 3 or 4 so far (not counting all the demo for the new Fairchild Avenue bridge). The properties that the City has removed have all been vacant and longtime eyesores that neighbors have begged the City for some visual relief. And honestly it’s more than just visual improvements — deteriorated properties can pull everyone’s property values down and make it hard for re-sale which quickly leads to a cycle of decline that all too often ends in foreclosure.
With that in mind the City looks at selective demolition as an intervention strategy to help neighborhoods stay out in front of the cycle of decline. All of the properties that have been brought down have been chronic violators of City Codes and a sore point for all the neighbors who have pushed hard on the City to take some action. Unfortunately, actions can be slow when it comes to navigating the court system to present a compelling enough case for a judge to say enough is enough and authorize the City to proceed with demolition.
The most recent example of exactly that process is the old Sales Cleaner property at the corner of Elm and Franklin. That property is being demolished this week — here’s a photo and a note from the City’s Public Service folks recommending traffic detours during the demo activity.
May 4, 2010
West Elm Street
BOTH EAST & WEST BOUND
BETWEEN FRANKLIN AVENUE AND WALNUT STREET AND PARKING ON THE STREET WILL BE PROHIBITED
AS PART OF THE CONTINUED DEMOLITION WORK, WEST ELM STREET (BETWEEN FRANKLIN AND WALNUT) WILL BE CLOSED TO THROUGH TRAFFIC BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 7:00AM AND 5:00PM ON THURSDAY AND FRIDAY MAY 6TH & MAY 7TH, 2010. (LOCAL ACCESS TO WEST ELM W
WILL BE MAINTAINED VIA WALNUT STREET)
NO ON STREET PARKING WILL BE PERMITTED ON WEST ELM STREET BETWEEN FRANKLIN AND WALNUT FROM 6:00AM TO 5:00PM ON THURSDAY & FRIDAY MAY 6TH & 7TH, 2010.
ROAD CLOSED SIGNS WILL BE POSTED.
MOTORISTS ARE ASKED TO AVOID THE AREA AND TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL TRAVEL TIME WHEN LEAVING FOR THEIR DESTINATION.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, RESIDENTS MAY CONTACT THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SERVICE AT (330) 678-8105.
City of Kent, Ohio
Eugene K. Roberts, P.E.
Director of Public Service
Next up… The old Triangle Cleaners Building will be coming down later this month on N. Mantua.