VP Joe Biden makes surprise visit to Youngstown’s south side to tour blighted areas

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – United States Vice President Joe Biden spent six hours Thursday in the Valley, stopping in Lordstown, Canfield and Youngstown.

He was campaigning for Hillary Clinton, but his final stops on Youngstown’s south side were to see examples of blight and what money for renovation can accomplish.

It also caused some parents to worry, when their kids’ buses didn’t show up after school.

Around 3:15 p.m., Biden’s motorcade rolled through the intersection of Glenwood Avenue and Canfield Road. A 10 block area of Youngstown’s south side was sealed off by security, preventing school buses from getting home on time.

A McGuffey Elementary School bus arrived to drop off students a little after 5 p.m., even though they usually get home around 4 p.m.

On a side street off Canfield Road, a school bus of Valley Christian students was stopped with no where to go. A secret service agent eventually climbed on board and rode with students to their stops.

“They let one kid out over here on Glenwood. His mom found him walking around the block,” said Jason Riley of the Idora neighborhood.

Some parents said they had no idea Biden was stopping in their neighborhood, because that part of his trip was never publicized. Plus, parents were not allowed to leave to go find their kids, no one was being allowed in or out of the barricades.

“But instead of worrying about our kids’ safety, they’re worrying about his safety,” Riley said.

Biden made two stops on the south side. First in front of a row of vacant houses on West Glenhaven Avenue, where he was accompanied by former Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams.

They talked with Abby Beniston, Youngstown’s Code Enforcement and Blight Remediation superintendent, and Debora Flora of the Mahoning County Land Bank.

“He has a clear understanding that we know what can solve this problem and we know we have to dedicate resources to it,” Beniston said.

Biden then spent five minutes talking with five people who live in the neighborhood.

“What he’s talking about is right. We need to build up, build up and get some money in this area in Youngstown and build this place back up,” said resident Jody Baldwin.

From West Glenhaven, Biden made the short trip to Lanterman Avenue, where he toured the Idora neighborhood and a house renovated by the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation. YNDC pointed out vacant homes and blocks that have been turned around with the help of federal funds.

Both Biden and Williams posed for a picture on the front porch of Jeff and Bertha Clinkscale’s house.

“And he said, ‘It’s good to be here, is everything good?’ And I had met Jay [Williams] a good while back, a long time ago as well. Just for them to walk up, I just got so excited … I just am at a loss for words. It was just great. He shook our hands and said, ‘Have a great day.’ And I said I was glad to have him here,” Bertha Clinkscale said.


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