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Published: Friday, 12/24/2010

Toledo's 350 razings in 2010 a record

The city of Toledo razed a record number of vacant and nuisance properties this year, mostly with federal funding, the Bell administration announced this week.

City crews so far have taken down 350 units -- which is a distinction different from past years when the city released the figure in number of houses.

"We anticipate doing 373 units by the end of the year, weather permitting and barring equipment issues," said Kattie Bond, the city's director of neighborhoods. "So that is more than we have ever done before."

The city demolished 266 units in 2009, Ms. Bond said.

A unit refers to a single-family home or a single apartment within a building.

The number of structures has increased each of the past three years. So far this year, the city has razed 258 buildings. Last year, it was 226, and in 2008, it was 219.

"We were able to do so many this year because of the stimulus funding the city received and Neighborhood Stabilization Program 1 grant money," Ms. Bond said.

"We tried to be a little more strategic this year rather than tearing down a house on the South End, then going to the North End," she said. "We tried to do it in areas our demo crews could do all in one area before moving on."

The process leading up to tearing down a nuisance property can be lengthy. It can include fighting with owners -- if they can be located -- title and appraisal work, filing a complaint in municipal court, and shutting off utilities before the wreaking crew arrives.

The cost can range from $3,000 to $4,000 a unit and the city usually attempts to recoup costs from property owners.

"The mayor brought in the community development corporations in May or June and had them submit their top 25 list of nuisance properties," Ms. Bond said.

Councilman Adam Martinez, chairman of council's neighborhoods committee, said removing vacant and nuisance homes helps maintain property values for other neighborhood property owners.

"Taking down those types of structures is important to protect neighborhoods," he said. "It is important for the safety and welfare of the people and also lowers the maintenance bills for the city of Toledo because we don't have to go and board things up constantly."

Contact Ignazio Messina at: imessina@theblade.com or 419-724-6171.



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