City of Lorain is counting vacant homes in hopes of more demolitions

LORAIN, Ohio - Lorain is identifying and grading every single vacant house in this city of nearly 70,000 people.

Vacant houses that get a grade of "D" or "F" will be demolished or if the landlord can, be rehabbed. Otherwise, the abandoned house will be cleared for green space

Adrian Maldonado from the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, with help from college interns who grew up in Lorain, will walk the entire city this summer taking pictures and notes.

The goal is to grant the wish of homeowners who say demolishing abandoned houses not only eliminates blight, but reduces crime.

"It eliminates that fear factor of people walking past an abandoned home worried about what's going on in there," Maldonado said.

"Studies show that any property looking at an abandoned home loses at least 10 percent of its property value," said Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer.

Officials hope the vacant-house count leads to more grant money to demolish hundreds of homes next year.

"It would be transformative and I say that because it eliminates a lot of calls for service to our police and fire departments," Ritenaueer said.

Fewer calls to vacant houses deemed a public nuisance would save those departments time and money, allowing them to focus on other priorities.

Ritnenauer estimates there could be 800 to 1,200 vacant houses that need to come down.

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