Code Enforcement official pays two residents to clean porch of abandoned house

Ringlein agreed to pay Sessom and her friend $30 and told them he would bring them a check on the weekend.

Two residents on E. Park Street were paid $30 to clean the trash on the porch of 421 E. Park Street.

Since last July, WNWO has made more than a dozen visits to the 400 block of E. Park Street in central Toledo to talk to residents about problems associated with vacant and abandoned houses.

Last summer nine of the 23 homes on the street were unoccupied; in the interim, one has been demolished. A house at 421 E. Park St. is a particular eyesore. The front porch of that house has been a dumping ground for beer and whiskey bottles and other trash.

Last week, a city official with the Division of Code Enforcement visited the block and spoke with neighbors. Dennis Kennedy, Acting Commissioner of the Division of Code Enforcement, referred 421 E. Park Street to the city's Beautification Action Team (BAT).

Several days ago, a BAT crew went to 421 E. Park St., but they did not remove all of the trash.

In an e-mail to WNWO, Mr. Kennedy wrote, "BAT has already been to 421 E. Park St. to clean up some of the debris. It was noted that some of the glass bottles on the porch contained human waste, or urine, which we cannot remove by hand. I have contacted the Division of Environmental Services for disposal of these items."

Today, Paul Ringlein, the Manager of BAT, made a visit to 421 E. Park St. to observe the condition of the porch. After speaking with two people who live nearby, Ringlein decided to pay them to remove the trash from the porch.

"I was speaking to the homeowner next door who is working with us now , great guy and his friend, so I hired them on the spot to clean the junk and debris on the porch," Mr. Ringlein said.

One of the residents is an unemployed woman named Jernita Sessom.

"We need a job and this is a great opportunity right here, and when we get done with this small job, he'll be able to take us on bigger and greater things because we were going to show him that we can do the work, we can handle it, we know how to keep a neighborhood clean," Ms. Sessom said.

Ringlein agreed to pay Sessom and her friend $30 and told them he would bring them a check on the weekend.

Ringlein provided Sessom and her friend, garbage bags, shovels and gloves. He instructed them to put the trash in the garbage bags and to leave them on the porch for city workers to remove them on Monday.

Ringlein says the money paid to the neighbors to clean the porch would come from a neighborhood block watch fund and not city funds.