City of Toledo trying to locate owner of abandoned crumbling church

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TOLEDO (WTVG) - Neighbors are watching a church closely on Toledo's east side.

People who live across from Calvary Bible Pentecostal Holiness Church said bricks are barely holding it up.

The building is located on the 400 block of 4th street in Toledo.

Neighbors said Calvary Bible has been abandoned for nearly two years.

"We're not just making hot air and I don't just want publicity," said neighbor John Truby. "I want something done here."

Since September 5th when 13abc's Brigette Burnett first interviewed Truby, she looked into public records.

The owner, Calvary Bible Assembly, owes $1,353.87 in unpaid taxes. The Lucas County Auditor shows the last payment in 2014 on AREIS Online website.

Now, the city is trying to locate the owner. The city spokeswoman said Calvary Bible Assembly owned the church since 1969. The last occupant was Calvary Bible Pentecostal Holiness Church, who abandoned the property.

The City of Toledo Housing Court Prosecutor Joe Howe said there's a process to go through before the church is demolished.

Howe said community members should make complaints through Engage Toledo first.

Truby and his family members said a complaint was made on June 15, 2016. They were given a confirmation number of #112793.

Howe said after that an inspector should have looked at the property.

"Department of Neighborhoods inspection would go out responding to the complaint to get a look at the property themselves," added Howe.

Neighbors and the city spokeswoman said that was done too.

Code enforcement crews have declared it a public nuisance.

The inspector could go back out to see if the problems haven't been corrected and then file an affidavit charging the owner with a crime.

Howe said, "if an organization, church [or] corporation doesn't show up, a bench warrant can be issued for the corporation."

In no hope circumstances the city can work with the Lucas County Land Bank or housing court could declare it a city issue.

"A lot of times if it's a safety type issue the court can make an order that the property needs to be demolished," added Howe. "The city can make a finding that the property has become unsafe and the city in fact may have to demolish it."

Now, the city is discussing the potential of demolishing the church, but that could cost $60,000. However, that process could take a long time.