August 1, 2014

Elyria
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Study finds blight reduced in Elyria’s Central Business District

ELYRIA — As Mayor Holly Brinda began unveiling her plan to improve Elyria’s reputation as a destination, she received good news regarding blight.

A recent study completed so the city can continue to receive federal Community Development Block Grant dollars may offer hope for vacant storefronts.

Ten years ago, Elyria’s Central Business District, defined by the area downtown between the two branches of the Black River, showed blight in 83 percent of the district.

The new survey results show blight affects 52 percent of the area. The label of blight is related to the exterior condition of all properties, public rights-of-way and other sites.

“It’s not the only thing we are using to gauge how the downtown has changed, but it is a solid benchmark,” Mayor Holly Brinda said. “We can see where we were 10 years ago and where we are today. It appears as if the CDBG funds invested in the area are making a difference.”

The study took place from August 2012 to August 2013. During that time, city code enforcement inspectors from the Building Department inspected all the houses and buildings in the district as well as streets, alleys, driveways, curbs, gutters, sidewalks, parking lots and other elements.

Inspectors found that of 290 buildings in the study area, 52 percent were deteriorating.

The public infrastructure was likewise deteriorating, and several areas were littered by old tires and debris.

CDBG funds have been used in a variety of ways in the district, from making funds available for small loans to downtown business to redoing sidewalks and curbs and helping homeowners make repairs.

Angela Byington, the city’s director of community development, said one of the goals of the federal program administered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is to improve blighted areas so much, the CDBG funds are no longer needed.

“In the best-case scenario, in the next 10 years the area won’t be eligible for funds under that designation,” she said.

The cutoff point is 25 percent of an area, according to CDBG guidelines.

Still, Brinda said there is still a lot of work to be done. “We are nowhere near where we want to be,” she said.

City Council members said the takeaway from the study is the success of the CDBG program.

“We have done a lot of good with the funds overall and I hope it continues,” said Councilman Jack Baird, R-at large.

Other findings in the study include asphalt streets in poor condition; broken, cracked or depressed sidewalks, curbs and gutters; poor or no lighting in various alleys; and railroad underpasses with poor lighting and in need of repair work due to rust, deterioration, broken concrete and poor drainage.

There are also a number of vacant lots in the area, but the study noted that many are the result of residential and commercial buildings that were razed by the city in the last year.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.

 

  • Sis Delish

    Um, the Study is based on the same number of buildings remaining in both years, or did it do it’s 2012 Study take place after certain former city hall buildings were razed?

    Fewer buildings would easily “reduce blight” percentages, but fail to tell the Real Story, IMO.

  • Mark B

    Don’t forget about all of the trash that litters the streets downtown. City sidewalks filled with blacktop and tamped down with the back of a shovel. If the money has dried up it wont be but a short time and any progress that was made will begin to decline. Just wait till the weeds grow 3 feet high around every street sign and light pole because city workers are too lazy to use a string trimmer. Weeds will also be growing up in the cracks of the sidewalks down town and around the trees in the sidewalk. Nothing make the city look more like a dump than weeds growing up around everything .

    • Sis Delish

      I agree.

      Yet, the “city” is powerless to get its dependent citizens to chip-in with shovels and rakes inbetween trips to the Fast-Food Joints.

      Shovel-Ready Elyria Is! Lot’s of Political B.S. to scoop up.

  • SniperFire

    Places such as Elyria seem to be able to do nothing without a Federal or State handout.

    • Mark B

      The unions squander all of the local tax money , then they are too lazy and protected from doing any work. Look at the sanitation department that works part time for full time pay, does the mayor not think the taxpayers are aware of this ?

      • SniperFire

        ‘ Look at the sanitation department that works part time for full time pay’

        I was unaware of that. Perhaps Lisa Roberson will do some investigative reporting on that and report back to us. I am sure the Chronicle-Telegram is as interested in the possible squandering of public tax dollars as much as they are in the receiving of them as charity from other taxpayers outside of the area.

        • Mark B

          I wouldn’t hold your breath on that , The CT will always be in Bed with the democrat controlled administration.

  • Donald Duck

    Maybe the Mayor can talk with all the non profit organization like Big Brothers Big Sisters, All the children organizations on the south side of town that get their CDBG money once a year maybe they will volunteer some time in helping pull weeds, planting flowers and cutting lawns. Maybe she can go to a local fabricator and have them make up and donate a traffic signal pole for Cedar and Second Street. The other morning was the first time I traveled that area in a long time. I actually did not see the red light until I was under it. Wow Am I glad no one was coming from other parts of the intersection or I would of been in a accident. How long has that been like that?

    • stillsleepyeyes

      Good luck with that……………….the unions will call foul………just like having the inmates doing landscaping on route 57……………..

    • Mark B

      You must mean Broad & Cedar , that has been like that since Late Fall , just a perfect example of Elyria doing things Half @ssed

  • TheRustyScupper

    ONLY 52% of downtown is blighted?
    And, this is supposed to be GOOD news?
    More Blinda Bull.

  • Sis Delish

    “Study finds blight reduced in Elyria’s Central Business District”… just an afterthought…

    Just where IS Elyria’s Central Business District?

    • SniperFire

      It’s that rundown area where people fear for their lives to go and conduct business. oh wait…. that could be anywhere.