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Blight on the Old South End

Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 6:47 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - For thirty years, a local musician has watched as more and more houses in the Old South End fall into disrepair. The Old South End is one of Toledo’s oldest neighborhoods, but it may also be one of the poorest. Recent studies have estimated that more than 40% of its residents could be living below the poverty line. One man says that problem is starting to show on every street.

“For 30 years, I’ve been paying taxes, watching the neighborhood go down and down,” says Toledo homeowner J. Mykol.

Mykol is using his cell phone to document the crumbling of his beloved neighborhood. He says he asks the city for help constantly - placing complaints about 20 houses within walking distance of his home. Two of the problem spots are on Colburn. He wants the city to tear them down or fix them up. Representatives for Engage Toledo say they have dozens of homes on the Old South End on their radar. Each has a unique set of issues that can take years to resolve.

The owner of one of the Colburn homes died a few years ago. Her heirs pay the taxes but are struggling to transfer the deed and make repairs. With taxes up to date, the city can’t take over the land.

The other house on Colburn was declared tax delinquent in 2014 and uninhabitable in 2017. A foreclosure could take years and be expensive, money that the city would likely never recover.

To help the Mayor has proposed spending $6.5 million from the American Rescue Plan to tackle blight starting next year.

For Mykol, that’s not soon enough. He says watching downtown revitalization efforts just blocks from his neighborhood is infuriating.

“Downtown is only as good as the neighborhoods that surround it. This is a great town, a great city. Lots of opportunities going on. Make it look that way for everybody, not just downtown,” he says.

In recent years, neighborhood organizations have started to fix up historic homes in the Old South End. Even with these efforts, the neighborhood has a long way to go before it’s restored to its former splendor.

If you have a nuisance in your neighborhood, send an email to kayla.molander@13abc.com.

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