Tuesday, February 17, 2009

fame it or shame it - the land next to Stambaugh Auditorium

Is Select Specialty Hospitals/Services a poor corporate entity in Youngstown?

The company's plan to build a long-term, acute care facility next to the pillars of historic Stambaugh Auditorium on Fifth Avenue have been abandoned since 2007.

In the process of preparing for this promised project, several north side homes and apartments were left vacant and rotting right after their acquisition, adjacent to what is considered a crucial gateway of entry to the downtown and Youngstown State University.

Here are two pictures of the Stambaugh Gardens right off of Park Avenue (houses still occupied):

Unfortunately, Youngstown is a place where abandonment occurs by both residential and commercial occupants.

So besides improving the housing and commercial markets, are there other ways to prevent the gradual decline of properties in the city?

One interesting experiment addressing this topic in the mega-region originates from the Word of Mouth blog. Looking at urban issues in Lorain, the WoM has a feature called "Fame It - Shame It".

In a nutshell, WoM finds properties - both good and bad - in the city of Lorain. By using the county auditor's website, the blog lists the names of the property owners, giving kudos to those who maintain their properties and scorn to those who don't.

From the blog's first installment of this method:
"If there’s a Beauty in your neighborhood, let us know. Likewise, if there’s a Beast, let’s do something about it."
And now, a few questions:

1. Should the "Fame it - Shame It" method of highlighting the property owners of both the beauties and the beasts be pursued in Youngstown?

2. Other sites list the home phone number, home address, and email of the property owners besides the name - would this be an effective strategy?

3. And what design standards should be considered when something is built in the place of these houses?

- as a key entry point into a historical residential neighborhood, how can the integrity of the remaining structures, including Stambaugh Auditorium be maintained?

- what do residents of the North Side, as well of the Board of Trustees of Stambaugh Auditorium, think of proposals for this property?

1 comment:

Mark Teleha said...

Fame It-Shame It has become an interesting tool in Lorain. I did FISI for WoM when I wrote there, and it can now be seen at www.locophotogblog.com.

FISI has covered buildings in Lorain's downtown area, which has resulted in netting being installed on an historic hotel, because parts were crumbling; and others being torn down because of a compromise in the structural integrity. I worked with the Building Superintendent at the time, and sometimes, within hours of an FISI post, inspectors were at the site, posting 'Condemned' stickers on the property.

It is a useful tool, especially when cooperating with people that can do something about it.

Good Luck!