Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins was quizzed Thursday night about street cleaning and alley upkeep, among other concerns, at a meeting of One Village Council, the North Toledo neighborhood group, in the Zablocki Senior Center at Lagrange Street and Central Avenue.
He said that streets were scheduled to be cleaned at least six times this year, but anything more frequent -- the council asked for twice-a-month cleanings -- could not be scheduled until 2015 and would cost property owners an additional assessment.
He urged block watch leaders to coordinate a date for a neighborhood cleanup, including alleys, with their district council member. City workers would be scheduled for the event to haul away refuse and get rid of weeds.
“We will not have safe neighborhoods until they are clean, until we address blight, until neighbors respect the neighborhood they’re in,” Mr. Collins said to the audience of more than 30.
Mr. Collins while a mayoral candidate last fall visited a One Village Council meeting and said that he agreed with certain of the group‘s positions -- on street cleaning and tree trimming, for instance. But as a candidate, and again Thursday night, he disagreed with creating a plan to deal with foreclosed housing modeled on Youngstown’s. He also expressed general agreement that neighborhood residents with the proper training should have a chance to work on projects in the neighborhood. But he said that he could not legally impose such narrow hiring requirements in city contracts.
His responses were at times spirited as he spoke of the need for neighbors to make sure they have the skills to find work and the willingness to report for work; of the city‘s management style the last 20 years, and of an upcoming increased police presence in neighborhoods. He agreed to continue to meet with village council representatives -- and more frequently than the semi-annual get-togethers they requested.
"This isn‘t just meeting every September and April. We have to communicate,“ Mr. Collins said. ”We have to get to know each other.“
The walls of the senior center were lined with hand-lettered posters, among them: ”Already assessed -- Fix our alleys now!“ and ”Keeping Pledges Builds Character.“
"We want the same opportunities as the rest of Toledo, and we are not getting those,” Dawn Clement, One Village Council president said before the meeting.