TOLEDO (WTOL) - City crews began their assault on Toledo's south end, aimed at sparking a neighborhood revival as Mayor Carty Finkbeiner announced that the first model block program of the year is an area bounded by Broadway, Bartley Place, Stebbins and South.
The program targets a neighborhood and concentrates services for a short period of time, in hopes that neighbors rally to make long-term improvements.
"The cleanup of a neighborhood begins with the men and women who live in the neighborhood," Finkbeiner said.
But the question seems to be: Will the program work despite the police layoffs?
In fact, the city's model block kick-off is ironic for Rosalee Perkins and her roomates, who say they're having trouble getting their heavy load of trash picked up.
"The trash guys said, 'We're not going to take them.' OK, now what do we do we got trash up the ying-yang that nobody wants to take," Perkins complained.
Tree trimmers, street cleaners and nuisance inspectors will all be out in force over the next few weeks, but some neighbors say they just want to see additional police patrols.
"It'll make us feel better, more secure because our cars ain't getting broken into, our houses ain't getting broken into, the vandalism, burglaries," said Ezekiel Perkins.
Dawn Stevenson, the mother of two young children, says she appreciates the effort but wants the city to prevent crime more than fight litter.
"We have a lot of kids 14,15,16, and go up and down the streets looking in the cars."
Other folks agree.
"My main concern is safety. I'd rather see police patrolling. I don't care if there's a little trash on the ground. Keep police patrolling keep the streets safe for me and my family," said Patti Conley.
Considering additional police layoffs are possible in June, and 71 general fund positions are due to be cut next week, the mayor says the program will continue.
"Many of those who work in the central part of Toledo in our neighborhoods department and public service department are funded from community development block grant federal money," he said.
Toledo is also launching a new anti-graffiti campaign. The city is offering a $250 cash award to people with information that leads to the arrest and conviction of graffiti activities. The number to call to turn someone in is 419.245.3340.