Building Better Neighborhoods, a NewsChannel 5 initiative will kick off its newest project on March 24 with anchors Danita Harris, Chris Flanagan, Lee Jordan, Leon Bibb and Tracy Carloss visiting 25 communities in 25 days in 5 separate Northeast Ohio counties.
CLEVELAND - Harvey Green Sr. has lived on East 118th Street in Cleveland since 1967. He's seen his neighborhood take a dramatic downturn, especially in the past three years.
The block is now filled with 14 vacant and condemned homes, causing some of Green's neighbors to move out.
Green lives across the street from one of the blighted houses currently owned by Bryce Peters Financial Corp., and Blaine Murphy of Naples Florida.
Cuyahoga County prosecutors have charged Murphy with buying up dozens of Cleveland homes, allegedly using false identities and non-existent witnesses, and then trying to sell the homes to make a quick profit. Prosecutors say the effort has left Cleveland neighborhoods with more than 100 condemned homes that have reduced property values and increased criminal activity.
On Nov. 26, Murphy reached a plea deal with Cleveland Housing Court and agreed to pay $500,000 in fines and home demolition costs.
But so far the fines have done little to help residents like Green, who continue to live among these nuisance houses.
Green is hoping prosecutors will convict Murphy and issue a message to the Florida house flipper.
"Blaine, do you care about other people?" shouted Green. "I have children, and even though my children are grown, I would love for you give them the chance to live. We all got to pay for this, but I think that you Blaine should also pay, so you can be fair too."
Meanwhile, NewsChannel5 is trying to spark neighborhood involvement by residents who volunteer to make a difference when it comes to vacant and condemned properties. We're inviting them to report nuisance properties through our Building Better Neighborhood initiative.
Just send us pictures and information on vacant homes in your neighborhood and we'll forward the information to your city building department, in an effort to move the properties to progress.
We are also giving residents information on how they can volunteer in their neighborhoods to make them better with the Building Better Neighborhoods Volunteer Toolkit .
Those interested in starting a volunteer effort in their neighborhood can also contact Hands on Northeast Ohio for more information.
We'll continue to update you on the developing case against Blaine Murphy on NewsChannel5, and here on newsnet5.com.
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