Despite looking like a war zone, buildings on an East Cleveland street won't be demolished soon

Posted at 6:49 PM, Apr 11, 2018

A video of an East Cleveland street lined with abandoned homes and littered with old furniture has been circulating the internet. It has people asking why haven’t city officials done something about it.

It’s not the first video that has been shared showing a road like Chapman Avenue in such terrible condition.

But officials tell News 5 as bad as this looks, it’s not that high on their priority list when it comes to demolitions.

A common sight on Chapman Avenue, right off Euclid Avenue. “This is just recent, no one lives on this street,” said East Cleveland councilman Ernest Smith.

An eyesore to nearby residents and to business owners like Felicia Lowery of Creation Express Hair and Beauty Salon. “It is very disappointing to see East Cleveland the way it is today,” said Lowery.

The unsightly scene, caught people’s attention online when a local photographer posted a video driving down Chapman. But residents of East Cleveland were already well aware of the condition it was in. “I just see poverty. It’s a bad look for the city,” said one resident.

In 2015, Cuyahoga County created the Property Demolition Program, allocating $50 million to tear down abandoned properties. Although the county later redirected $17 million from the fund, over a thousand structures have come down. In East Cleveland, 122 were demolished. 

“We have demolished over 70 abandoned and dilapidated homes and five apartment buildings in Ward 3,” said Smith. To date, East Cleveland received $3 million from the fund. Smith received $2 million for his ward.

He said they prioritized demolitions based on the feedback they received from the community.  “Chapman was last on the people’s list.”

Instead, Smith says, they prioritized vacant homes in occupied neighborhoods.

Once those funds run out, Smith says another $2 million will be allocated, this time to another ward.  “To be honest with the people, Chapman will not be a part of the $2 million.”

Lowry says she is disappointed to hear that.  “I feel like this should be one your top priority, because it is on the main street of Euclid and you have businesses here trying to survive,” said Lowery.

Of the $17 million redirected from the fund, the Department of Development will reallocate $8 million to the fund in 2018 and $9 million 2019.