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Published: Wednesday, 5/23/2007

Toledo seeks estimates to save burial records

The city of Toledo is seeking estimates on the cost of salvaging genealogical records that are in danger of being looted from a vacant monument and headstone company in West Toledo, a spokesman for Mayor Carty Finkbeiner said yesterday.

Brian Schwartz, the mayor's executive assistant, said the moldy conditions in the basement of the former Lloyd Brothers Walker Co. building at West Central and Auburn avenues constitute a health hazard.

However, the administration has not selected a bidder, and has rejected as too expensive the $5,000 estimate offered by one contractor.

"If we have to remove that material for health reasons because there is mold and mildew in that building, we'll go after the owner," he said. "The mold and mildew have to be remediated."

Local genealogist Christine Zywocki has raised an alarm about the threat to thousands of monument transaction and burial records dating to 1892 that were left when the building was abandoned about four years ago.

Ms. Zywocki began removing the records herself in March, but was ordered to stop by a city code enforcement inspector.

The city has filed a lawsuit seeking permission from Toledo Municipal Court to demolish the building as a public nuisance.

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