Keith C. Burris’ July 27 column, “A Toledo neighborhood fights for its life,” included many inaccuracies that require a response.
The Collins Park homes in question were not salvageable. Several were stripped; others had severe water and structural damage. I made a personal inspection before I gave the order for demolition.
Plans were shown to the Birmingham Development Corp. and to those affected on more than one occasion. There have been public meetings and communication.
A letter that was hand-delivered to residents on the street, three days before the demolitions took place, acknowledged the need for resident input about landscaping an entry point into the neighborhood. A community meeting will be held, so that those who actually reside on the street can have a voice in the process.
No one should be surprised that the homes were demolished. It was stated repeatedly that these six structures would be demolished, and their sites cleaned up and seeded.
City Council stopped the purchase of additional properties — a move I supported, since there did not appear to be justification at the time to buy more properties. One property is being purchased at the request of the owner. Several others want to sell, but we have not entered into purchase agreements.
A scheduled meeting between members of the Birmingham Development Corp. and me, more than a month before the demolitions, resulted in a last-minute cancellation by them. Their request to restore the houses was not feasible, and that information was communicated to them.
I cannot control what happened before I became mayor. When I took office, the homes were not in a condition that could have resulted in any other outcome. It is unfortunate that Mr. Burris did not feel it necessary to check with me or anyone in my office to ensure he was given accurate information.
Meeting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requirements, and ensuring that our water treatment plant is working properly, are critical to our survival as a region. At times, the needs of the many outweigh the desires of a few. This situation is one of those times.
D. MICHAEL COLLINS
City of Toledo
To clear blight, enlist volunteers
To help clear blight, the City of Toledo should tap into the area’s volunteering spirit.
Offer free advertising to local excavation, lawn-maintenance, hauling, and other big-equipment companies. They could clean up sites where houses need to be torn down and grounds maintained, and perform general services.
It would be a wonderful way for companies to advertise, by placing their information on site.
Pine Trace Drive
City should retry to land Costco
With the City of Toledo purchasing the former Southwyck Shopping Center property, this is the time for Mayor D. Michael Collins to pursue Costco with an incentive package (“City gets purchase deal for Southwyck; Collins is confident in finding end user for former shopping site,” July 20).
Costco would anchor the Reynolds Road corridor for years to come. Less site preparation would be needed at the Southwyck site than in Perrysburg. Costco could be the stimulant needed to bring South Toledo back, with retail businesses and much-needed jobs.