T-Town Initiative cleans up blighted east Toledo neighborhood - Toledo News Now, News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

T-Town Initiative cleans up blighted east Toledo neighborhood

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

A new initiative kicked off Thursday in east Toledo to fight the growing blight problem in the city.

City crews and volunteers hit the neighborhood between McKinley and Butler Avenue. They spent the day mowing grass, boarding up vacant homes and filling potholes.

Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins says the "T-Town Initiative" was made possible through the work of the East Toledo Family Center and the group One Voice, who brought the blighted neighborhood to his attention.

"They have decided that they want to take back their neighborhoods, work together in engaging the residents, community leaders, whoever has a vested interest in east Toledo to make it better," said Jodi Gross from the East Toledo Family Center.

Residents of the neighborhood were thrilled to see the blighted properties cleaned up. Juanita Jones, who has lived in the neighborhood for more than 35 years, says she's had to tend to the vacant properties next to hers recently.

"[I do it] so people think that somebody lives here, so they don't break in, vandalize, all that kind of stuff," Jones said.

Jones and many others are tired of seeing so many homes either abandoned or owned by out-of-state companies that fall into a state of disrepair.

"What's the point? If you buy a property, you should live here, not in California," she said. "You need to take care of your property here."

The residents know Thursday's cleanup effort will not solve the blight problem, but it may plant the seed of change in a neighborhood that has needed it for awhile.

"We all know blight and vacancies and rundown homes is a major problem and is going to take a little bit of time, but one step at a time, right?" said Daniel Stevenson, pastor at New Heights Fellowship Church.

The next T-Town Initiative will be in the Orchard and Prowy neighborhood in south Toledo, on Thursday, July 31. 

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