TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - A group of residents in the Burroughs neighborhood of south Toledo are fighting blight and hiring a security patrol to keep their area of Toledo safe.
There are 1460 homes in the Burroughs neighborhood, and with just over 100 home problem homes, 7 percent of the neighborhood is considered to be a nuisance or in blight.
However, with the help of the Toledo Code Enforcement Inspectors and efforts from residents the neighborhood is on the upswing.
Signal 88 security patrols are finally set to start in the Burroughs neighborhood on Friday, June 15, and this spring, the Department of Inspections conducted a spring sweep across the city of Toledo. Anything from chipping paint, tall grass, cracked sidewalks, broken windows and more were tagged as code violations.
"We realize that there are a lot of properties that are out there that are not being maintained, whether it be foreclosure or vacant or abandoned, and we were trying to hold property owners responsible for their land that they have within the city limits," explained Code Enforcement Manager David Kennedy.
The sweep turned up over 60 significant violations in the Burroughs neighborhood alone, but residents there compiled their own list of 106 problem properties in an attempt to fight the blight.
"A lot of those homes were served with papers from the city and a lot of them have already started to either paint, or put new roofs on, new windows, new doors, some of them are really improving, but what we'd like to do is clean up the whole area and make it all a positive, safe, and nice place for us to raise our families," said Molly Tomaszewski, a resident of the Burroughs neighborhood.
City officials say it is groups like the Burroughs, one of the more active neighborhood organizations in Toledo, that lead by example.
"It helps the city out a lot by having these organizations that want to take charge and have the leadership and can help us out in trying to find resolutions for blighted properties, or abandoned homes, vacant homes, things of that nature," said Kennedy.
"At one point, 20-25 years ago, the whole area was beautiful and we want to get it back to where it is beautiful again. We really have a lot of pride in our area and the people that live here and we want everyone to be happy and safe living here. If you don't take care of it, the bad guys are going to move in and take over, so we're trying to prevent that," said Tomaszewski.
Instead of the 6 patrols 7 days per week the neighborhood originally wanted Signal 88 to perform, the neighborhood will be observed 4 times per day by Signal 88 representatives. The neighborhood did not receive enough payments for the original amount.
In order to reach that goal, the group needed 350 residents to make a $65 payment for a year's worth of service. It breaks down to about $5 per month, but only 215 homes have made that payment.
Burroughs representatives are hoping if each person that has made a payment gets a neighbor to do the same, they will reach their goal of extra patrols.
"Everyone has been talking about Signal 88, when is it going to start? Hopefully it's going to prevent a lot of crime, we really feel that it is, and stopping... I hate to blame everything on the kids but, they're going to have to watch themselves," said Burroughs Neighborhood President Gus Franks.
The neighborhood organization is still accepting payments in order to raise their patrol count.
Members of the Burroughs organization are hoping residents who have not joined or paid will notice a difference and sign up after patrols start.