CLEVELAND - 20 years ago, Bridge Avenue between West 45th and West 58th Streets was overrun with dilapidated properties and crime.
"This was probably one of the worst drug areas 20 years ago, there used to be gangs that went up and down the street and dealers in front of houses," said Bridge Brigade member Michael O'Connor.
During the summer of 1992, residents decided they had to take action and the Bridge Brigade block club was born. They decided to fight the crime that was literally in their backyard. The Bridge Brigade put up signs throughout the neighborhood and let drug dealers know they were being watched.
Residents wrote letters to judges asking for harsher sentencing of drug dealers and other criminals. The Bridge Brigade worked with police to stop crime.
Saturday night the group celebrated their 20th anniversary with a street festival. Over the years, 118 new homes, 40 rehabilitated homes a new park became part of the community, resulting organizers said in more than $18 million dollars back into the community. 22 new houses are planned organizers said for the near future.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Cuyahoga Co. Headlines
A Cleveland police officer was fired on Wednesday, more than after she was charged with stabbing her boyfriend.
A steady stream of people continue to flock to the home of Cleveland kidnapping suspect Ariel Castro, taking photos of the house of horrors.