YOUNGSTOWN, OH—U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined community leaders in the Mahoning Valley today to outline a plan to create jobs, rehab vacant and foreclosed homes and businesses, and stabilize neighborhoods—like the one surrounding Youngstown’s Idora Park.
Outside a condemned commercial property in the up-and-coming Idora Neighborhood, Brown discussed the Project Rebuild Act, which expands on the bipartisan Neighborhood Stabilization Plan (NSP) by addressing commercial vacancies and leveraging capacity in the private sector. The bill also increases support for “land banking.” Land banks work with communities to buy, hold, and redevelop distressed properties as part of a long-term redevelopment strategy.
“A vacant lot is more than just an eyesore—it saps the life out of communities. The values of surrounding homes decline, city resources are drained, and crime gets a foothold. Our economy cannot recover until we rebuild our neighborhoods,” Brown said. “Project Rebuild would help refurbish neighborhoods that have succumbed to wear and tear, but with a little polish could thrive once again. It also helps communities demolish abandoned properties and find dynamic new solutions for old structures that don’t have to be destroyed.”
Brown was joined by DeMaine Kitchen with the City of Youngstown, Presley Gillespie with the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation, Tony Paglia, with the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Mary Ruth Lynn, executive director of the Youngstown Playhouse Theater and member of the Idora Neighborhood Association. They outlined how the Project Rebuild Act could help create jobs in the Mahoning Valley by overhauling distressed neighborhoods and commercial properties.
“There continues to be a tremendous need in the Mahoning Valley for assistance in dealing with blighted and abandoned residential properties and finding more suitable development sites for the private sector,” Paglia said. “We are encouraged that the legislation contained in Project Rebuild appears to address those issues, which are being felt by nearly every community in the Valley.”
“In the Mahoning Valley, additional public sector resources are essential to catalyzing strategic investments to jumpstart our real estate markets and address the challenges experienced by post-industrial cities,” said Gillespie. “This exciting legislation introduced by Senator Brown is critical to helping us stabilize our neighborhoods, while creating jobs and economic opportunities for our residents.”
About the Project Rebuild Act
Project Rebuild leverages the success of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) while making critical changes to address commercial vacancies and leverage capacity in the private sector. It broadens NSP to allow the rehabilitation of commercial projects and other job-creating activities, and up to 10 percent of formula grants may be used for establishing and operations a jobs program to maintain eligible neighborhood properties.
Ohio could receive, at minimum, $20 million of the $10 billion in formula funds; beyond this baseline, funds will be targeted to areas with home foreclosures, homes in default or delinquency, and other factors determined by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, such as unemployment, commercial foreclosures, and other economic conditions. Formula funding will go directly to states and entitlement communities across the country. Competitive funds will be available to states, local governments, for-profit entities, non-profit entities and consortia of these entities.