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In-Depth: Cleveland residents share concerns over burned-out, condemned homes

City leaders admit more demolition funds are needed
CLE residents share concerns over burned-out condemned homes
CLE residents share concerns over burned-out condemned homes
CLE residents share concerns over burned-out condemned homes
Posted at 10:27 PM, Aug 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-29 08:57:14-04

CLEVELAND — Mary Jones is fed-up and is tired of looking at the vacant and condemned house sitting across the street from her well manicured Cleveland Collinwood neighborhood home.

Jones, and Ward 8 Cleveland Councilman Michael Polensek, report the home has been sitting idle and wide-open for more than two years, awaiting city demolition.

Jones showed the house, which includes a partial roof, high weeds, trash, debris, and an abandoned vehicle in the backyard. Jones said numerous calls to Cleveland city hall and the Mayor's office about the house, located less than 500 feet from St. John Nottingham Lutheran School, have not produced any results.

“They’re not tearing it down, we see animals going in-and-out of the house," Jones said. "We’re afraid something bad could possibly happen here. The drug dealers know this is the house to stop at. Unfortunately there is school right here, less than 500-feet away.

Sadly, the home Jones showed us is far from the only neighborhood safety issue. Polensek showed News 5 five other vacant, burned-out, condemned homes within a one mile radius in his ward. In most of the cases, the homes don't have roofs, weren't secured and were the victims of arson, or a fire.

Polensek believes the Jackson Administration and city building and housing inspectors should have moved the burned-out homes to the front of the demolition list.

“Look at this quality neighborhood that surrounds this house, people pay high taxes in here, this is 10 minutes to the lake," Polensek said. "If this house was in Lakewood or Bay village, would it be tolerated?”

“Why isn’t the city aggressive in addressing problems like this? Put additional money in for ridding our neighborhoods of stuff like this, this is unacceptable. I can’t do that as a member of the council, but the people who can, aren’t doing it."

Polensek said council members will be meeting on August 30 on how more than $500M in federal American Rescue Act Funds should be used. Polensek believes more money for city home demolition should be high on the list.

"I’m sick of dealing with homes like this, and I’m not the only council member, we have houses like this all over the city," Polensek said. "Everyone of us should have reasonable expectations of how long it’s going to take to deal with a house like this."

News 5 reached out to the Cleveland Mayor's office and the owner of the condemned home on Mary Jones's street, but so far we're still waiting for a response.

Meanwhile, Jones hopes the city will finally take action and tear-down the vacant home on her street, before someone is serious hurt or killed.

"It needs to be stopped, this house needs to be torn down, before a child gets put in this house and killed," Jones said. "It’s happened before in other neighborhoods, we don’t need this happening in our neighborhood.”