21,000 vacant properties worry Toledo neighbors - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

21,000 vacant properties worry Toledo neighbors

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Toledo's deteriorating and abandoned properties are a growing problem.  More than 18,000 vacant properties were reported in 2010.  By 2011 it swelled to more than 21,000.

City agencies are working hard to get in front of it, but neighbors who live in these communities are afraid of the safety and health dangers they pose.

"The house just sits there and it becomes a victim to its environment," says Judy Stone, a realtor with Danberry Co. and a resident in the Old West End.

Stone sees too many homes go unoccupied or mis-managed.  The results can be devastating.  They lower property values, create health and safety hazards and leave open spaces for stray animals and vermin.

"Our worry that those houses we see that are vacant or the bank has foreclosed on them are victims of being stripped or architectural items stolen out."

Jane Petitjean, another West End neighbor, sits just a few doors away from two vacant houses.  She loves her neighborhood, but says the houses are both dangerous and an eyesore.

"We have longtime residents here, we're very lucky that way," says Jane.  "But you get kids that go in, and gangs and drug activity. It just becomes a complete nuisance."


Nine hundred vacant and abandoned properties are slated for demolition this year, thanks in part to the 'Moving Ohio Forward' grant program. Last July, the Lucas County Land Bank received more than $3.5 million to demolish unoccupied property.

"There's so many houses in Toledo that need to be demolished," says Kathleen Kovacs, deputy director with the Department of Neighborhoods. "We're moving as fast as we can."

"We want to make sure people are living safe housing because that's such an important component to your life," Kovacs comments.

Part of the problem is a shrinking population.   The city swelled to over 384,000 back in 1970.  That shrank in 2010 to 287,000 people.

"We have an aging infrastructure that has to be supported and we don't have enough people to support all that," says the city leader.  

Stone believes the benefits of the county land bank are growing citywide.  She's seen great changes in her neighborhood.

"We see improvement. Yeah, we have some abandoned houses but we also see some great success and turnarounds in the Old West End."

She believes each neighborhood has to take charge to see a real difference in the city.

"It's always been my belief that you have take care of your own small town or your own small part of the city to help everyone involved."

The city does have a hotline to report vacant and abandoned property in the city of Toledo, you can call 936-2020.

To get more information on the city's demolition plan, visit http://www.co.lucas.oh.us/index.aspx?NID=2392 .

Or you can go to http://www.ci.toledo.oh.us/I-need-help-with/Neighborhood-Concerns .

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