East Toledo street shut down after years of illegal dumping
On Utah St. near Oakdale in East Toledo, road closed signs and barricades are the new norm, and it's all because of illegal dumping.
"Whatever [people] need to get out of their backyard ends up down here for some reason," Utah Street resident William Glynn said.
For years now, neighbors like Glynn say people have come to their quiet and secluded street to off-load their junk.
"I [saw] one guy have four mattresses on top of his truck, and he lost one before he even got back in there to dump them, and he didn't care," Glynn said.
It's an issue the city has noticed, too. In an effort to curb the problem, leaders decided to permanently close the unoccupied stretch of road on Wednesday. While some people are on board with the move, others are not.
"The solution isn't to cut this road off, I'll tell you the truth it's not," longtime neighbor Patricia Staley said.
Along with having to change her driving habits, Staley says she's also concerned about safety.
"That's an important road down there," Staley said referring to Utah near Oakdale. "What if the fire trucks have to go down through there?"
City leaders say they consulted first responders and even did a traffic study before deciding to close the street.
"It was never to inconvenience anybody, and it was a tough decision to try to come up with some sort of common sense solution," City of Toledo code enforcement commissioner Dennis Kennedy said.
Kennedy says the city spent more than $32,000 in 2019 to clean up the area and says a shut down is the best option right now.
"Ultimately, it's about the quality of life and standard for people in that neighborhood," Kennedy said.
But not everyone is pleased with the decision and say they want to see a different fix.
"There's got to be a better solution," Staley said. "They could put up a camera or something up there."
The Utah Street closure is set to be permanent for now. City leaders say, though, that cameras and improved lighting could be added down the road.
In the meantime, if you see illegal dumping in your neighborhood you're asked to call Engage Toledo or TPD's non-emergency line.