Neighborhood, city look to keep Vistula beautiful - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Neighborhood, city look to keep Vistula beautiful

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TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

Preservation, not demolition.

That's the message from folks who live in Toledo's Historic Vistula District to city officials.

The Vistula District is Toledo's oldest neighborhood.

Streets there are lined with beautiful Greek revival, Gothic and Victorian homes.

Members of the Historic Vistula Foundation want to keep it that way.

"It's wonderful. It's a great neighborhood. It would be better with a little more care and thought given to it," said foundation member Richard Martinez.

That's why the foundation Saturday had a one-on-one meeting with Toledo's new department of neighborhoods director Tom Kroma.

He assured them he came with one thing in mind: listen to their wants and needs and see what can be done to save historic buildings.

"We're looking at collaboration. We need to work with everybody. It's a partnership. It's just not the city doing it for them. We need to do it in a collaborative effort," said Mr. Kroma.

Not that Vistula is perfect.

There is some blight and crime.

But block watch leader Sy Kreis says Vistula is still safe compared to other parts of Toledo.

"It tells us we are getting our neighborhoods back. People are watching their neighbors and looking out and not afraid of retaliation to report it," said Mr. Kreis.

Mr. Kroma says if a building is an eyesore that's been lit up by an arsonist, the city will bring in a wrecking ball.

But he hopes that doesn't happen here.

"We've had an aggressive demolition program in the past. We worked with the land bank, had an application for demolition grants to tear down more homes. And what we don't want to do is come into the Vistula neighborhood and tear down the historical homes that need to be preserved," said Mr. Kroma.

Meanwhile, the foundation will continue working with its community development corporation and hold fundraisers to save homes from demolition all in an effort to preserve history in the Vistula district.

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