NOVEMBER 8, 1998 ARTICLE FROM THE YOUNGSTOWN VINDICATOR

Bit by bit, Idora Park is disappearing. The Ohio Historic Preservation Office wants Idora Park owners to know that help for preserving the park's characther is available.

Peice by Peice, Idora Park is coming down. The carousel house and bath house, penny arcade and other buildings along the midway are now gone. (note:the bathouse is still there) Some disappeared by necessity. Mike Damiano, demolition director with the city Community Development Agency, last inspected the grounds two weeks ago. He had suggested to the parks owners, Mount Calvery Pentecostal Chruch on Oak Hill Avenue, that the midway buildings and bathouse might have to come down because they were in such bad shape.

Reasons for citation: Fed up with complaints about tresspassers, stray dogs and rats, eight weeks ago Damiano cited the church with failure to secure the boundaries, the ballroom area around the bathouse, and cut high grass and weeds. The carousel house however DIDN'T REQUIRE DEMOLITION, he said. That could indicate the church is moving ahead with plans to develop the park. Church officials didn't return several calls seeking comment on recent changes at the park.

History: A church spokesman said in September that a spiritual center, City of God, would move forward soon and that debris and weeds wouldn't be a problem beyond the summer. City of God has been in the planning stages since 1995. The church bought the 26 acre park a year after it closed in 1984, lost it in foreclosure and the reaquired it three years ago. The Ohio Historic Preservation Office sent the church a letter a few weeks ago asking it to explore all options to avoid furter impact on the park.

Signifigance: Idora Park was listed in the National Register of Historical Places in September 1993. Franco Ruffini, a deputy state preservation officer said the agency can offer the church help with blending its new plans with the old parks characteristics. The letter sent after the agency heard about the demolition was more a reminder for the church that help is available, Ruffini said. The agency can only force changes if state or federal dollars are spent on the project, not when private money is involved as in Idora's case.

Richard Scarsella, director of the Idora Park Institute, said the developments are dissapointing but not surprising. "We had hoped for better things from them, or any owner" "Watching it die a slow lingering death is painful" he said.

Main Concerns: The key to the park is the ballroom he said, adding that his group will keep monitoring developments there. More work will be required, including at the ballroom, Damiano said. The facade of a building in the former Kiddieland needs to come down before it falls on tresspassing youths, he said, there was also demolition debris on the site two weeks ago that should be removed. The propertys perimiter and ballroom also remain easily accessible to vandals, despite the churchs effort to comply with his order which Damiano characterized as half hearted.







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