Sylvania residents unhappy with downtown revitalization plan

SYLVANIA, OH (Toledo News Now) - Some Sylvania residents are unhappy with a plan to remodel the city's downtown area.

Sylvania City Council was presented with a revitalization plan Monday night, and that is when some residents discovered the plan involves building in their backyards.

Residents take pride in their historic homes and spacious backyards, and were a bit rattled to discover that in the city's plan, they did not belong to them anymore.

"We enjoy living here. It's a nice setting in downtown Sylvania. It's historic, and we like it," said Dan Kujawa.

The Kujawa and Newman families live right by Sylvania's historical village on Erie Street. Their homes are in between a museum and an architecture firm. They are almost in full support of Sylvania's downtown plan.

"I saw the rendering of this little section of the plan and noticed that my house was in it," said Debbie Newman.

Residents learned about the plan not through the city, but through the media.

"It would have been nice to get a phone call, a letter, a knock on the door, you know, just to notify us," said Kujawa.

They said the first meeting they were notified about was Monday night.

"These buildings, these proposed buildings, would be in my backyard," said Newman.

The plan shows no garages or driveways. A part of Newman's home looks to be torn off and their backyard would be turned into a parking lot.

"It would make my house unlivable," said Kujawa.

"I think their plan would be that I'm not living here," said Newman.

Both homeowners said they are not interested in selling their property.

The city said these plans are meant to be a guide and are not set in stone.

"I think it was just somebody putting in an idea of what it could be. It would be a low priority to do anything that would be taking over private property," explained Bill Sanford, director of Sylvania Economic Development.

Sanford said they are concentrating on vacant buildings and city-owned property first.

"Anything that we would do, if we get to that point, we would have to work with them," said Sanford.

The city is putting the downtown plan online and are welcoming comments. Council will vote on the plan next month.

Copyright 2012 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.