Mayor asks for E. Toledo participation to fight blight & crime - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Mayor asks for E. Toledo participation to fight blight & crime

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For eighty-two years, Judy Bee has called East Toledo home sweet home.   Now there are more properties with broken windows and fewer homeowners to cut the grass. Bee came out Wednesday night for reassurance things will get better at the first community town hall for East Toledo with Mayor Collins, sponsored by members of 'One Voice for East Toledo'.

"It used to be we'd have have block parties, and our kids grew up together but it isn't that way anymore," says Bee. "Our neighborhoods have really changed."

Mayor Collins is confident East Toledo can and will improve with the cooperation of neighbors and city leaders and the launch of several new programs.  They include the 'See It, Click It, Fix It' app which allows residents to send complaints and photos of vacant or neglected properties directly to the city.  Collins is also organizing nine Toledo teams made up of community leaders that will monitor city sectors, and report issues and code violations to the city and nearby residents.

"Cities that don't step up to the plate and take on the challenges and build from the opportunity are not going to survive," says the Toledo leader.  "The identifying of a problem doesn't correct an issue. The only thing that is going to correct that is strong neighborhoods and government partnerships."

On the commercial front, the mayor plans to demolish two of the old smokestacks by mid-July and spruce up the last one by creating a state of the art lighthouse using the third remaining stack.  Changes could also be coming for the Marina District, which has not seen any activity in years.  Mayor Collins said on Wednesday that the city could be re-purchasing the land from Dashing Pacific for the $3.8 million purchase price in the next few months.

"In the fall if we don't have communications, I'm prepared to notify them that I'm advancing the property to the commercial market and I fully intend on taking the property back," Collins tells 13abc.

Bee and other residents at Wednesday's community meeting aren't completely convinced change is coming but say this conversation is a start.

"My kids want me to , but I'm not going to be forced out of my home," she says with a smile. "I like my home and I'm going to stay there as long as I can."

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