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Wednesday, September 17, 2014
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Published: Sunday, 7/5/2009

Old West End area is neighborly

It is sadly ironic that Old West End neighbor Bob Brundage, an indefatigable community activist, one who recognizes the need to help others, to help raise the quality of life for those less endowed, was critically injured by someone who seems to have such needs himself.

OWE residents have long demonstrated their resolve to be a beacon to the communities around us; to face down bigotry, to defy the cruelties of nature, to help raise the quality of life in the central city through active involvement in community affairs, through creative improvements of the neighborhood, and through participation in local organizations.

It is not accidental that we live here. Many of us have made conscious decisions to reuse these legacy homes, to avoid the "safe" escape to the suburbs. We know our risks. We have chosen to actively create a community in the central city that reduces those risks.

Regentrification began in the OWE in the early 1980s after decades of deterioration. But simply remodeling expensive old mansions would never have made the area what it is today. We demonstrate that, despite the risks, the added costs, and the countless hours, a neighborhood can bootstrap itself.In the past decade, the OWE has increased in size because our example has inspired those around us to take more pride in their own homes and streets.

To those who express concern about the safety of living here, I regret that they will never know the value of living and working with people so passionate about their neighborhood. With so many communities where one may know only the neighbors next door and across the street, I am much richer knowing and working with many neighbors five or more blocks away.

There's a well-known saying in the OWE: "You move here for the homes, but you stay for the neighbors."

Would that all were so lucky.

Philip Klunk

Robinwood Avenue

The June 28 article titled "Crime nothing new for the Old West End" misses the point. It's not that crime exists and we as Historic Old West Enders require vigilance in addressing it. It does, and we do.

The point is all historic district neighborhoods transition through similar periods in their revival. Lincoln Park in Chicago, SOHO in New York, Buckhead in Atlanta, and German Village in Columbus all experienced, or are still experiencing, the same issues. What makes a historic district succeed in its preservation of architecture, culturalheritage, ethnic diversity, and reduction in crime is the strength and perseverance of its residents.

Thegoal of Toledo's Historic Old West End becoming a nationally recognized district is well under way. Simply pick up a current copy of the American Bungalow magazine and read the 15-page article praising the area and its residents.

Each year,more historic homes are being purchased and saved by young professionals set on raising their families and taking part in the transformation to the neighborhood. Theyhave all read articles similar tothe one on June 28,or received opinions on living in the Old West End, yet they still choose to move forward with their plans.

Your article required you to dig back 25 years to compile 15 violent crimes. I submit that many, if not most, neighborhoods could post similar numbers going back 25 years. What happened to Dr. Brundage was deplorable,butI think he would be the first to say that he too has heard his fair share of mixed opinions, it's nothing new, and it's most important to move forward.

Dan Schmitt

President

Historic Old West End

Association

The June 28 story about crime in the Old West End in the wake of the Robert Brundage assault was an act of vandalism just as thoughtless, and far more damaging, than a rock through a window.

Yes, the Old West End has concerns about crime, as do West Toledo, Sylvania, and Perrysburg, and The Blade can perform a valuable service by writing about it. Unfortunately, The Blade chose to pander to fear and false perceptions rather than be part of the solution.

The list of 14 violent deaths in the Old West End reaches back a quarter of a century. The list does nothing to illuminate the accompanying article, but rather leaves the impression of a dangerous and lawless neighborhood. The article itself was written with more interest in juicy quotes than in responsible journalism.

The people of the Old West End are among the best in Toledo, involved in the community and cultural life of the city in numbers that rival or surpass any other neighborhood. What we need and expect from our newspaper is support, not a push over the cliff.

The Blade has done a grave disservice to the Old West End Historic District, the largest neighborhood of restored Victorian, Edwardian and Arts & Crafts homes in the United States, a national treasure, and an essential element in Toledo's revitalization. Thanks for nothing.

Dennis Hicks

Robinwood Avenue

The Old West End is one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in town, and a rare place where there's a diverse, colorful, and joyful community. I applaud the attention the attack on Robert Brundage has received, but the article about the crimes in the OWE is just plain malicious. It does nothing to explain the story better and is only a fodder for misplaced prejudices about the inner city.

Had the reporter followed the lead offered in his own reporting, a better question would have been: What about the poverty and desperation that drive such criminal acts?

The Blade has the capacity to turn out stories that motivate people to positive social and political action. This was not one of those.

Vesna Radivojevic

Scottwood Avenue

Recent letters have focused on gravel vs. paved driveways and the impact that vehicles leaking automotive fluids and impervious surfaces have on our water environment.

The Toledo Municipal Code addresses the unlawfulness of allowing the discharge of any substance in any location that cause or may tend to cause pollution in the waters of the city. A vehicle leaking automotive fluids, whether parked in the street or a driveway, is in violation of these codes. It is recommended that the vehicle owner fix the vehicle or recapture leaking fluids and dispose of them properly.

To address concerns of impervious surfaces adding to the volume of water entering the sewer system during a rain event, the Toledo-Lucas County Plan Commission and Toledo City Council recently approved amending the municipal code to allow the installation of low-impact development techniques such as pervious concrete in parking areas. Pervious concrete looks and acts very much like traditional concrete but allows the rainwater to naturally filtrate through instead of sending it to the storm sewer system.

Toledo has wonderful water resources, and the aforementioned codes and low impact development techniques give us the tools to address issues concerning both water quality and quantity.

Timothy D. Murphy

Commissioner

Environmental Services

City of Toledo

To Larry Ocheske, who has single-handedly started a neighborhood cleanup in the Old Amtrak Village : you, sir, are a patriot. Thank you for being an outstanding citizen and a wonderful example of what one person can do.

LORA GABLE

Sylvania Township



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