Warren neighbors transform vacant lot - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Warren neighbors transform vacant lot

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WARREN, Ohio -

A neighborhood in Northeast Warren is showingoff it's latest effort for self improvement. Neighbors are working together to turn former blight into useful space.

Where abandoned houses use to be an eyesore on Washington Street, a community garden is in bloom and producing fresh food for people in the neighborhood. When another house was torn down on the lot next to the garden, the Neighborhood Association decided to also put it to good use, and the result is small pocket park.

"So I wanted to begin to transform the neighborhood into a more friendly neighborhood" said Joan Sullivan of the Central City Neighborhood Association.

The park area features an oversized chess board and pieces, which can be signed out for play. Tables are also available for other board games. It's designed to be a gathering place for people in the neighborhood.

It's something where we could learn and socialize and still have a little fun, but also adding a little bit of value back into the neighbordood as well" Sullivan said.

The city says the projects transform what would otherwise be another vacant lot that the city would have to maintain.

"Joan has put the lot to positive use and it lends itself not only to the beautification of the city but it makes the neighborhood safe" said Warren Safety Services Director Enzo Cantalamesa.

The projects get grants and financial support from local organizations and foundations but it's the people who really put in the effort to bring about positive change.

"So we ask them to do the work and we just support what they are doing, and you can see what happens when a neighborhood works together like this" Beverly Burks of the Wean Foundation said.

The neighborhood group says they hope to do future projects as more abandoned houses are torn down.

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