BOARDMAN TOWNSHIP, Ohio - When you think of vacant and rundown properties you generally don't think of Boardman Township.
But a tough economy and the foreclosure crisis have forced the township, and many other communities, to confront the issue of neighborhood blight.
Township Zoning Inspector Anna Mamone has photographic evidence of the blight.
Foreclosures have left many homes abandoned. "It's a who owns the property issue. We have a hard time getting in touch with the banks and making sure that the banks can go ahead and do the upkeep on the properties," Mamone said.
Foreclosure can be a long drawn out process leaving eyesores in otherwise well kept neighborhoods. "We try to take care of our house as do all the neighbors around here and we have to live next door to this (a vacant rundown home)," said Boardman resident Roy Straight.
Straight says the house next to his has been vacant for four years. "It's been condemned by the county board of health, it needs to go away," he said.
Commercial properties are also a problem. Examples are the former Englis Greenhouse on Southern Boulevard and the old Terrace Motel on Market Street.
Once declared uninhabitable, properties can be targeted for demolition but Boardman Trustee Larry Moliterno says that can be costly for a building like the Terrace Motel.
"The original quotes that we got on that (Terrace Motel) were about a quarter of a million dollars to demo that building because of all the asbestos," Moliterno said.
"And that's what our stumbling block is. Where do we get the money to demolish the houses," Mamone said
Without attention, the problem will only get worse. So the plan is to be pro-active. "We're still going to try to get compensated by the owners. We know that's going to be a tough battle sometimes," Moliterno said.