CLEVELAND - Cleveland is working to put its best foot forward, after landing the Republic National Convention and being put into the national sports spotlight due to the return of Lebron James and the drafting of Johnny Manziel.
However, some neighborhood leaders are worried hundreds of illegal signs posted in various parts of the city are threatening to give Cleveland a "black eye."
Lincoln Heights Block Club President Henry Senyak reports the signs are littering a growing number of key Cleveland streets and neighborhoods.
"This is completely disgusting," said Senyak. "They went from signs that we can tear off, to signs that they're pasting all over on metal utility boxes, metal utility poles, stop signs. You can't get this off, this is defacing city property."
"We need to send a very clear message to these business owners that just want to put this up. It's crazy."
Senyak and other leaders are calling for more enforcement.
Cleveland Housing Court Judge Ray Pianka told NewsChannel5 the signs are a drain on Cleveland neighborhoods and carry a stiff fine.
"It's an indicator of what's going on in a city and in their neighborhood, and it also has a blighting influence," said Pianka. "This is a minor misdemeanor which could carry a penalty for an individual of $150, and for a company $1,000."
NewsChannel5 contacted the owner of one of the companies posting the signs, and the company owner claimed he wasn't aware the signs were illegal. The owner is now considering taking down all his signs but wonders why other companies are getting away with the postings.
NewsChannel5 also contacted the Cleveland Mayor's office and it responded immediately. The Mayor's office reports it's aware of the problem and is working on greater enforcement and clean-up.
Meanwhile David Reuse, with the Stockyard, Clark-Fulton and Brooklyn Centre Development Office, believes greater enforcement is needed if the city truly wants to put its best foot forward.
"The one guy told me, 'this is Cleveland, the laws are not enforced,'" said Reuse. "On three different occasions I've been threatened because I take pictures and try to get the police to enforce it "
NewsChannel5 and newsnet5.com will continue to follow-up on this developing story.