Fire chief issues emergency demolition of Youngstown’s Buckeye School

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – It may have been as far back as the ’50s or ’60s since kids were taught at Youngstown’s Buckeye School. Now it’s a nuisance, with drug addicts hanging around the area and even fires being set. That’s why the fire chief issued an emergency demolition request to have it torn down.

Kathy Hart lives across from Buckeye School on the south side, just up the hill from where the Campbell Works used to be.

“I could see why they’d want to tear it down,” she said.

The school caught fire on July 21, heavily damaging the back of the building, which is now privately-owned.

“Youngstown Fire Chief John O’Neill had issued an emergency demo request, requesting that the owner take that structure down,” said Abby Beniston, with the city’s code enforcement and legislation.

She said she tried calling the number for a beauty school that once occupied the building.

“The woman who answered said she was the owner. When I started asking questions, she said she didn’t want to talk and hung up.”

Buckeye School was built in 1925 in what was a neighborhood filled with steelworkers. For a time in the ’70s, Youngstown Sheet and Tube held classes there.

It’s a very different story now.

“The teenagers seem to think this is their hangout and you have drug addicts also going in there,” Hart said.

According to her, the fires, the teenagers, and the drug addicts all make it a nuisance property that needs to go.

“The goal is to definitely get that building torn down. At this point, it is unsafe,” Beniston said. “Whether the owner has to demolish the building or the city is, it is not something that we will leave as a blight to the neighborhood.”

Should the city end up paying for the demolition, it will do what it can to recover the costs from the owner — even if that means taking over the land through foreclosure, though it’s unlikely the land would be worth as much as the demolition will cost.