TOLEDO, Ohio — Toledo and the Lucas County Land Bank will get $9.8 million to demolish vacant homes affecting the city with blight.
"We're going to be able to do more work in this community than any other community in the state of Ohio," Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said.
Kapszukiewicz said he's thrilled at the opportunity for the city of Toledo and partner Lucas County Lank Bank to receive the nearly $10 million to demolish blighted homes.
"Over a thousand structures are going to go away and when that happens, those neighborhoods become a little safer. They become a little more livable. There's a real sense of pride that comes back and frankly the property value of the remaining homes go up," Kapszukiewicz said.
The grant comes from the Ohio Department of Development and requires a 25% match -- $3.3 million -- from the City of Toledo, which will use American Rescue Plan Act funds, Kapszukiewicz said.
It takes a bite out of the 3,500 estimated properties the city says are sitting vacant right now.
"As of right now, without grant funding, we don't have a good, steady stream of demolition revenue available, City of Toledo demolition coordinator Stephanie Beebe said. "So without this grant money, we wouldn't be able to tackle this problem. And this is a problem we know has been here for 10,15 years."
One of the more than 1,000 structures slated for demolition is the former Rosemary Apartments at the corner of Detroit and Phillips avenues. Joshua Sorrell, 16, lost his life there in 2016.
As the buildings come down, opportunities open up.
"Maybe that opportunity is as simple as the neighbor next door extending his or her yard and planting more flowers or maybe the community will come together in a more coordinated way and create a little park, a little pocket park," Kapszukiewicz said.
The city says work will start in north Toledo and move clockwise through the city over the next two to three years.