City departments are partnering with local businesses and community agencies to improve the Glass City one neighborhood at a time.
On Wednesday at the East Toledo Family Center, Toledo Mayor Mike Bell launched the city's 2013 Spring Sweeps initiative, along with directors of the city's inspection, neighborhoods, public service and police departments. City officials say this program is about sprucing up the city and boosting community pride. They say in order to do that it will take a team approach.
"Strong neighborhoods make a strong city, and we're interested in keeping the city strong," said Director of Inspection Chris Zervos.
The initiative is a joint effort by the city and private sector to improve the city's housing and commercial building stock by focusing on home improvement and neighborhood stabilization, as well as linking property owners with assistance programs administered by the city. Residents will be provided discounts offered by local building material stores to fix issues to meet city building codes.
"How do we make sure that, you know, you got a house next to you that's causing problems from the stand point, that it's a nuisance, it's abandoned. Let's get in to be able to take care of it. You got grass that's overgrown, whatever we need to be able to do, we're going to take care of that. If there's things that need to be done in a joint way, we're going to do it, and do it in a way where people can see it," explained Bell.
City staff will work in groups beginning in east Toledo with further concentration in the United North, Broadway Corridor and Overland Park neighborhoods.
This is the second year for the Spring Sweeps initiative. This year officials say they plan to do it bigger and better than last year and plan on hitting 8,000 homes, starting Wednesday morning.
"We're trying to move in a very positive way. We're trying to move in a way that helps our city, and to try to make everybody in the city of Toledo feel good about where they live," said Bell.
New to the team initiative this year is the Toledo Police Department.
"You can't just address the crime problem. We also have to address the quality of life problems," said Chief of Police Derrick Diggs.
Just days ago, the department helped provide a clean palette, wrapping up a 10-day target enforcement blitz on the east side that stripped criminals off the streets.
"200 arrests in a 10-day period, in an area the size that we have here is a lot of arrests, and you also took off about five or six weapons, and some drugs, and a whole lot of other things," said Diggs.
Over the next three months, neighborhoods in east Toledo, United North, the Broadway corridor, and Overland Park will be busy with inspectors checking homes and giving free information to their owners on services for help with repairs, and teams sprucing up areas.
"These are older, densely-populated neighborhoods. It's very easy to come up with 8,000 homes. There are 103,000 residential properties in the city of Toledo. So tackling 8,000 in one year is a start," said Zervos.
Promotional assistance for Spring Sweeps has been provided by the Better Business Bureau, Byrne Paint, area community development corporations, Fred's Pro Hardware, the Home Builders Association, Keep Toledo Lucas County Beautiful, Lowe's Home Improvement Center, Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity, Modern Builders Supply, Professional Remodelers Association and the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority.
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