Lakewood to buy and convert three troublesome homes to improve neighborhoods and safety

Properties are former boarding houses

LAKEWOOD, Ohio - The city of Lakewood has gone to great efforts to purchase three troublesome boarding houses from private landowners.

Lakewood will renovate two of the properties and turn them back into single family units, and the third location will be torn down before the end of the year.

The properties located, at 1436 Grace Avenue, 1446 Mars Avenue and 11900 Madison Avenue, have been the source of numerous disturbances and calls to the Lakewood Police Department.

Lakewood Mayor Mike Summers said he believes the move will make the neighborhoods safer and quickly increase property values.

"In the 20s and 30s, boarding houses made sense, in 2012 they don't make sense," said Mayor Summers. "These are terrific neighborhoods and the these boarding houses are a disruption."

Bruce Schreiber lives next to one of the boarding houses, and said he believes more cities should selectively acquire problem properties.

"One day I found syringes on my front lawn, another day they're smoking crack in the back parking lot," said Schreiber. "When the house next door becomes a family unit, the neighborhood will improve and my property value will go up."

Meanwhile, Lakewood spent more than a year obtaining the vacant property on Madison Avenue. The huge property was tied up in foreclosure, and has been an eyesore for many years.

"We had to sort out the legal mess, and convince the owner to sell it to us," said Mayor Summers. "We purchased the property for $36,000, and we'll be tearing it down, hoping to produce new businesses."

Mayor Summers told NewsChannel5 residents need to be active in promoting these kinds of improvements to their neighborhoods. Summers has even created his own blog on the effort to improve neighborhoods.

"The citizens were the first ones that kept this issue before us, working with council members and block clubs," said Summers. "Let us know this is problem that is unacceptable, and you got to do something."

NewsChannel5 is inviting residents to take and active role in their neighborhood by reporting vacant/condemned homes through the NewsChannel5 Building Better Neighborhoods initiative .

Residents are encouraged to send in pictures and information on distressed properties to our Troubleshooter Facebook or Twitter accounts @joeonyourside. Report a home using your smartphone and our free NewsChannel5 app.

Residents can also find out how they can volunteer and improve their communities my logging onto our Building Better Neighborhoods page .

If you're dealing with a vacant home in your neighborhood, use the Cleveland Housing Court Vacant Home Toolkit to guide you through the process of moving a vacant home to progress step-by-step.

NewsChannel5 will bring you a series of reports and updates on the progress made through the Building Better Neighborhoods initiative throughout 2012.

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