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Published: Thursday, 10/6/2005

Finkbeiner floats plan to replace rundown homes

BY TOM TROY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Mayor Jack Ford makes a point while former mayor Carty
Finkbeiner listens during a question-and-answer period.
They were at a Toledo Board of Realtors candidates  forum. Mayor Jack Ford makes a point while former mayor Carty Finkbeiner listens during a question-and-answer period. They were at a Toledo Board of Realtors candidates forum.
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Mayoral candidate Carty Finkbeiner yesterday proposed having the city take over dilapidated city residential blocks, relocate the remaining residents, and redevelop the area with new housing.

Mr. Finkbeiner broached the idea in a candidates' forum sponsored by the Toledo Board of Realtors yesterday at the Toledo Club.

Mayor Jack Ford, attending the same event, immediately blasted the plan as expensive, but declined to guess at the cost.

"That entails huge dollars and I don't know where that money would come from at this point in time to pay for it," Mr. Ford said.

Mr. Finkbeiner said the plan would be "challenging."

"There are some neighborhoods that are quite run down. We need to look at the possibility of relocating the men and women that are in the very rundown neighborhoods to a new neighborhood, clean that block or two or three, and put in major housing additions," Mr. Finkbeiner said. He said the city would use "prudent and appropriate incentives."

He said he had in mind a particular block near downtown with eight to 12 houses, the majority of which may not be up to the city code. Nearby are some abandoned, dilapidated commercial structures.

He said he looked at doing the same thing when he was mayor.

Mr. Finkbeiner didn't say whether he would use the city's power of eminent domain, recently affirmed by a Supreme Court ruling, to seize properties in an updated version of Urban Renewal, the program from the 1960s and 1970s, which cleared away many blocks near downtown.

"It's nothing to do with that recent Supreme Court decision," Mr. Finkbeiner said later. "I hadn't even thought about that."

He said there may be a half-dozen neighborhoods where the houses are not meeting code that would be candidates for redevelopment.

Mr. Ford and Mr. Finkbeiner disagreed over the point-of-sale legislation that has failed to advance in City Council. The ordinance would require investor property owners to get an inspector's approval before the house could be sold to a homeowner.

Mr. Ford told the Realtors group that many people are being taken advantage of when they buy houses through land contract.

He related an example of a woman with four children and no job in the 300 block of O'Connell Street who had bought on land contract a house with a falling-down garage and was now being told by the seller that she had to pay to have it demolished.

"She didn't even understand the terms of it," Mr. Ford said. "We have some people who sign these land contract deals who frankly don't know what they're getting into. And it is for that reason that we need to have some mechanism when we get into these kind of agreements that there's some protection."

Mr. Finkbeiner said the point-of-sale legislation is anti-business. He cited the city of Detroit, which has long had a similar law in place, as an example of how ineffective it would be.

The former mayor also called for taking advantage of the construction of new schools in Toledo to develop new suburban-style neighborhoods - something the Ford administration is already doing.

"Perhaps the cost of the home would be slightly less, but exactly the way the houses are being built around the new Perrysburg High School - we should be looking to do that in the city of Toledo," he said.

Mr. Ford pointed out that his administration already has provided incentives for new housing developments that are being planned for near Stewart and Chase elementary schools, which are scheduled to be rebuilt.

Contact Tom Troy at:

tomtroy@theblade.com

or 419-724-6058.



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