YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Students from Youngstown State University are trying to fight blight, and they are starting with vacant houses in their own backyard.
Nick Chretien said the vacant homes in the neighborhood are a nuisance. He volunteered on Saturday with other YSU students to do something about it. Chretien is one of the founding members of YSUscape, a new student group trying to improve the neighborhood around the school.
More than 50 volunteers worked Saturday to clean and board up 10 properties in the Wick Park area.
“Some of them are unsightly. So, we came out to clean the weeds off of them, board them up and make them more secure,” Chretien said. “It is just better all around for the neighbors.”
Chretien said it not only helps the neighborhoods, but also provides a more inviting atmosphere for students coming to the university.
YSUscape member Jordan Wolfe said there is a lot of price at YSU and finding volunteers isn’t a problem.
“The fact that it is local and it is within walking distance of where people are going – you are starting to see a lot of impact.”
And local residents are also doing what they can to keep an eye on the vacant properties.
“The neighbors actually put up the caution tape. Their kids used to play in that area and they felt that is was unsafe,” Wolfe said. “They actually put up some of the boarding on that property, too.”
The students received help from the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation’s revitalize truck, securing vacant houses just a few blocks from campus.
This was just the first Wick Park workday for students. YSUscape’s leaders say they want to do more projects to pitch in for the university’s neighbors.