pathways16p Supervisor Willie Martin, left, leads a group of young men, members of the Pathway's summer employment program, as they work together mow a lot on Bakewell Street in East Toledo.
A crew of teenagers and young adults employed through a Lucas County summer job placement program began cleaning up vacant lots around the city of Toledo last week.
The county-city initiative is part of the program being run by Pathway, formerly known as the Economic Opportunity Planning Association of Greater Toledo.
More than 100 vacant lots, many where homes once stood, have been cleared of trash and debris and mowed since the Pathway Green Neighborhoods Program began July 7, Stanley Lowe, the agency’s president, announced during a news conference Tuesday at One Government Center.
This year Pathway is administering the Lucas County Empowerment Program, a summer job-placement program for people ages 16-24 that had been run by the Lucas County Workforce Development Agency and Lucas County Department of Jobs and Family Services.
Of the near 540 teens and young adults who qualified for the program, 18 are working under experienced crew leaders in the urban beautification program. The city has provided about 250 properties that need to be cleaned and mowed.
Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins, at podium, Lucas County commissioners Pete Gerken, behind Collins, Tina Skeldon Wozniak, second from right, and Carol Contrada right, recognize youths in the Pathway Green Neighborhoods Program (PGNP) during a news conference.
“This is not about just cutting grass. It is about work experience,” Mr. Lowe said.
Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak said the teens and young men and women are getting valuable on-the-job experience and improving the Toledo landscape at the same time.
“It takes hard work to makes homes, houses, and neighborhoods as clean and kept up as they will be,” she said. “They have the ability to work hard. They have the ability to improve their neighborhoods.”
Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins said he hopes the work being done by the crews will inspire residents and property owners to continue the efforts after the program ends in September.
“This is a jumpstart to get the neighborhoods back into shape,” Mayor Collins said.
Contact Mark Reiter at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6199.