A new proposal at the federal level aims to make more money available for cities to remove blight. Ohio Senator Rob Portman visited Toledo Friday to promote the Neighborhood Safety Act.
Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur is backing a companion bill in the House. If approved, more money would be committed for the fight against blight in Toledo and cities across the country.
A $7 million fund was created with money from the Ohio Attorney General's Office, the city of Toledo, as well as the Lucas County Land Bank program. So far that fund has paid for the demolition of 556 vacant structures, with a goal of 800 by the end of the year.
Portman says his bill would earmark even more money for demolitions.
"This is a hazard for the neighborhood. It really creates a public safety problem. It's also about the neighbors and the values of their homes. When you have abandoned buildings, it drags down home values for everybody," explained Portman.
Steve McNeil says he has noticed the difference in his north Toledo neighborhood with more eyesore houses being torn down.
"It's a good thing for the neighborhood. These houses are just here. It's dangerous," said McNeil.
He also says tearing down eyesore houses is only the start for improving neighborhoods.
"That's just a step. Just one step. [There are] more steps to it than that," said McNeil.
Mayor Bell says he appreciates any financial help the city can get for the cause.
"We need to be able to take care of this, because we're putting a lot of people in jeopardy if we can't," said Bell.