CLEVELAND — Cleveland residents and two city block clubs report growing issues developing in city alleyways, especially on the city's West Side.
Cleveland Clark-Fulton homeowner Rebbeca Kempton was so fed up with expanding problem, she posted a video of her dilapidated alley on Facebook.
Kempton told News 5 she's hoping to spread awareness about the potential health and safety issue and believes city building and housing inspectors need to do more to issue citations against the growing high weeds, disrepair and illegal dumping that is impeding access to driveways and garages in her neighborhood.
“Some are new residents and don’t feel the necessity to maintain their property, and they’ve allowed (it) to become overgrown and unsafe again," Kempton said. “The neighbors that have worked for this and have maintained it over the years—we deserve to have a safe space. And from the city government who does not exercise their code enforcement at all.”
Sandy Smith with the Metro North Block Club reported similar alleyway issues in Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood.
“We’ve had people that if they left their garage door open, somebody would back up into their garage and dump stuff and drive away, can you imagine that, could you imagine coming home to that," Smith said “The alleys are the only access to driveways in some cases, it’s the only access to garages and off-street parking.”
Smith continued, “These alleys are just not maintained the way streets are maintained and they need to be, they’re not private. These properties are not going to get any better unless somebody has a reason to make them better, and the city really needs to put more teeth into regulations.”
News 5 attempted to reach the Cleveland mayor's office three times since July 13 to get some answers from the city Department of Building and Housing and its inspectors, but we're still waiting for a response.
Ward 14 Councilwoman Jasmin Santana responded to our story and issued the following statement:
"I am very concerned about maintaining alleyways - currently the focus has been to keep alleyways clean from illegal dumping.
MetroWest CDC responds to residents' calls, clearing alleyways of mattresses, contractor waste, and leftover garbage.
"I have used Ward 14 dollars to provide “dumpster days,” for the past 3 years, collecting over a million pounds of excess garbage.
Each year my office mails a letter to homeowners along alleyways to remind them that they are responsible for the maintenance of the alley near their homes.
Even so, we work hard to combat illegal dumping and over growth in the alleys. A priority is on maintaining vacant and abandoned housing and clearing lots.
My Office responds to every phone call that comes in and we try our best to alleviate the problem. Are they all fixed? Of course not, but we continue to work on the issues."
Meanwhile, if you're dealing with illegal dumping or high weeds in your Cleveland neighborhood, you can contact the Environmental Crimes Task Force, dial 3-1-1 or contact the Cleveland dumping hot line at 216-664-DUMP (3867).