Toledo, OH - The Lucas County Land Bank started tearing down blighted and abandoned homes in August of 2012 with the help of a grant from the national mortgage settlement. The money must be used by December 31, 2013.
The goal in the 17 month span was to demolish between 850-900 homes.
Now past the halfway mark, a pile of rubble sitting on York Street on Toledo's East side marks number 460.
"There are a lot of positive things that a demolition can lead to," explains Wade Kapszukiewicz, Chairman of the Lucas County Land Bank, "all of which help to increase the property value of all the neighbors along the way. Which is what the goal is."
The project has faced some snags, such as added expense for asbestos removal, but day after day, some of Toledo's worst eye sores continue to come down.
"When I saw them come this morning I told my wife, I think they are finally going to knock that house down. she said, 'No.' I said yeah, they were knocking the doors off," says John Kerekes, who's lived next to a blighted home for over ten years. It was demolished Thursday morning.
Kapszukiewicz says it's hard to put an exact number on how many homes are blighted and abandoned in the Toledo area, but he estimates about 2,500.
So by the time the Land Bank demo's are complete, that number will be reduced by as much as 40% in the 17-month span.