CNN has this story about homeowners in Youngstown who prefer to stay in their blighted neighborhoods rather than accept the city's buyout offer. The city is offering up to $50,000 dollars in enticements for residents to move from their houses. The Youngstown 2010 plan calls for these areas to be transformed into greenspaces by demolishing the houses and tearing up the streets.
While it may be frustrating for everyone who worked on the Youngstown 2010 plan to see obstructions stand in their way, it is good to see that city planners see the relocations as voluntary at this point and do see the need to invoke eminent domain. Such action would immediately stop negotiations with homeowners and lead to lawsuits that could take years to resolve.
Additional enticements and discussion could lead to some residents understanding what the city is trying to accomplish by planning its shrinkage. There is no future growth planned for these areas so homeowners do not have to worry they are getting a fair shake from the city.
There has always been a resistance to change in the Mahoning Valley so no one should be surprised that where some see dilapitated houses some see the place they have always called home. City officials should do everything possible to help these last holdouts leave voluntarily so that the progress of the 2010 plan isn't tainted with hard feelings. However, those residents who are holding out should ask themselves if staying in their homes is worth blocking the progress of a plan that is vitally important to the city. Youngstown deserves every chance to succeed and needs the help of everyone who can lend a hand.
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