Last Tuesday the City Council Strategic Planning Committee chaired by Councilman John Brown met for an update on the plan to demolish houses in Warren using the Attorney General’s Moving Ohio Forward funds. There was little news in the meeting but it was a very good summary of the situation, and a front page story in this morning’s Tribune does a nice job of summarizing the summary.
The summary was provided by Marissa Williams and George Piscsalko of TNP who put the plan together after personally surveying all the houses in Warren. TNP wrote the demolition strategy which the AG requires in order to receive funds. Demonstrating that Warren is acting on a strategic plan is also important when the city applies for additional funding as it becomes available.
There are two items of note to add to the Tribune summary. Warren will have a larger amount of money available for demo than the article suggests. Warren City put up $500,000 of its own money which created a $500,000 match from the AG; in addition, Trumbull County received an additional $500,000 because the county met its target and that was almost totally because of Warren’s $500,000 contribution. TC Treasurer Sam Lamancusa said in the meeting that he expected to spend 85% of that money in the city giving Warren a total of $1.425 million to apply towards the demolition of about 285 houses on the Board of Health condemned list — a number which is sure to grow.
So the big question is, “how many houses will $1.425 million demolish?” Unfortunately the answer is not clear. The out-of-pocket cost to demo a house in Warren is only about $4000, which would suggest it will eliminate 356 houses — if there were no such thing as asbestos. Unfortunately, not only is asbestos real it is inside many of the target houses and sometimes in large quantities. Removing (or “abating” as is most often said) asbestos can double or even triple to cost to bring down a house. This is a complex issue which I will write about separately later this week.