North Toledo abandoned church a magnet for homeless, crime

Abandoned church is magnet for homeless, crime
Published: Nov. 11, 2021 at 8:03 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - A former house of worship is now decaying on a street corner, causing neighbors quite the headache.

The church on the corner of Locust and Delaware in North Toledo has been abandoned for at least five years. But neighbors now say some new, unwelcome occupants have moved in.

Jerry Light has lived his entire life on Delaware Avenue in Toledo. He says an abandoned church next door is changing the way he thinks about the city he loves.

“I believe they forgot about the North End,” he says. “I lost faith in 2015.”

Light says he’s been asking the city to do something about the property on the corner for years. He says he’s called Engage Toledo more than 100 times.

“About once a month to twice a month since 2015 to the present date. Add it up,” he says.

Light doesn’t let his grandchildren play out front for fear they’ll get lead poisoning from the the paint chips, and that’s the least of his worries. The building used to be empty, but now Light sees people climbing through the open window after sundown. Random items and furniture have started to appear inside. 13abc found a needle on the ground outside.

“There’s prostitution going on out of this building. There’s vagrants living in this building,” says Light.

According to Lucas County records, there is an outstanding tax bill of nearly $26,000, for a property worth about $11,000. This means the county could take steps to take over the property. But so far it hasn’t. Instead, the city performs minor maintenance and adds it to the tax bill, which hasn’t been paid since 2016.

“Before you got the city of Toledo out here, you’d have better luck taking a Jeep up Mt. Rushmore, and getting to the top. The city does not come out here for nothing,” says Light.

13abc checked with the city about what could be done about the property. A spokesperson is looking into the issue. Toledo Police are also working to provide a history of calls for criminal behavior at the address. 13abc also left a message with the Lucas County Treasurer to ask about the county’s plan for the building.

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