YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio, April 14 (UPI) -- More than 1,000 buildings in Youngstown, Ohio, have been bulldozed in a program meant to answer to the issue of its shrinking population, officials said.
The city has been hit by downturns in the steel industry and an increase in foreclosures, leaving abandoned houses and empty neighborhoods, CNNMoney.com reported.
A city program called Plan 2010 is set up to offer $50,000 grants to entice homeowners in sparsely populated neighborhoods to move so the city can knock their houses down and return the lots to green space.
"Abandoned houses here are like rainfall in the spring," Mayor Jay Williams said. "That has gone on for decades."
In the past few decades, Youngstown's population has declined from 165,000 to just over 80,000.
"We're one of the first cities of significant size in the United States to embrace shrinkage," Williams said.