E. CLE: 13.5M needed for 151 dangerous buildings

Posted at 10:33 PM, Mar 25, 2016

East Cleveland is facing a crisis. It needs an estimated $13.5M to take down 151 potentially dangerous vacant buildings, that continue to threaten residents.

Perhaps the most hazardous abandoned building of the group is the former Huron Place Apartments on Terrace Road.

The 14-story structure has been vacant for more than two years, and remains wide open, a haven for crime.

East Cleveland estimates it will need at least one million dollars to take down that apartment building alone, and the city has found it difficult keep the property boarded-up.

East Cleveland Councilman Nathaniel Martin told the old apartment complex is too large to keep secure, and the city simply doesn't have the funds to take down.

"It's not something that's happened over night," said Martin.  "I've been speaking about this for over a a year, I bring it up almost every council meeting.  I say to them, 'what are we going to do about the building that used to be across the street from Huron Hospital.'"

Western Reserve Land Conservancy Vice President Jim Rokakis believes one potential solution is getting the U.S. Department of the Treasury to reassign federal demolition dollars, so they can be used for multi-unit buildings.

Rokakis believes it's the only way East Cleveland will be able to afford the massive amount of demolitions that are needed.

"East Cleveland is dealing with 151 vacant and abandoned apartment buildings, totaling 1,738 units, and by our estimation about 13.5 million dollar demolition bill," explained Rokakis.

"Got to have it. If we don't get the exemption, or the allowance by the treasury to let us do multi-family units, those buildings will never come down."

Rokakis believes the treasury could make its decision as early as May of this year.