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Condemned home owned by Cleveland school district to finally be taken down

Posted at 10:49 PM, Mar 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-20 13:17:36-04

It's taken nearly 6 years, but a condemned home owned by the Cleveland school district is finally set to be demolished in June.

The vacant home has been owned by the Cleveland schools since 2008, and is located 500 feet from Denison Elementary School.

The home on Denison Avenue has been cited with numerous code violations by Cleveland building inspectors, and has been broken into by squatters.

Residents who have homes in the neighborhood contacted News 5, wondering how a condemned home owned by a school district could avoid demolition for years.

Connie Davis, who owns the house next-door, told News 5 she believes the district didn't have a good plan when they bought the house 10 years ago.

The house was to be taken down, and be a part of a plan to re-build Denison Elementary, but Davis believes as the plan failed, the district simply hung onto the house, causing the Cleveland Landmarks Commission to delay in moving forward with a 2012 demolition request.

"Yes, it was a ridiculous plan," said Davis.

"Do it right.  Is the planning department going to approve a school right on Denison, where now there are bike lanes?  How are people going to pull up and get their kids, they can't."

News 5 started its investigation into the problem house last year, after residents raised concerns about the potential of children being abducted into the vacant home.

Cleveland Metropolitan School District Chief Operating Officer Patrick Zohn responded to our story, and told News 5 the house will now be taken down in June, with the property turned into greens space, as the district continues to examine plans to re-build Denison Elementary.

"The spotlight that you helped to shine on this issue, working with the city, brought it back to the forefront and every one agreed," said Zohn. 

"Particularly with the leadership of Councilwoman Santana, to move forward and get this down."

Zohn said as the school district moved to a new plan in 2013 and 2014, it may have caused the Landmarks Commission to delay in acting on the 2012 demolition request.

"So until a definitive plan could be set forth, I think there was reluctance on their part," said Zohn.

Davis said she is confident councilwoman Santana will follow through in making sure the home is taken down this summer, and will work to keep the new green space clear of debris.