Left: View from backyard
(Toledo, OH) Sheets over open windows at 1244 Vance billow in the spring breeze, bringing fresh air into the house.
Those same windows, however, have also been open for many months, letting in animals and vagrants.
“No one has lived in that house for over a year and a half,” said neighbor Antoine Davis. “I haven’t seen the owner or anyone from the city over there in a long time.”
The city has foreclosed on the property for back taxes, which currently total $1783.94.
The back door of the house has been ripped from the frame, and passersby have easy access to the house. Litter and clothing suggest that the house may have had recent unauthorized inhabitants.
“A place like that attracts rats, stray dogs, and crackheads,” said Davis. “It also brings down the property values around here.”
Davis, who has lived on Vance Street for 23 years, can remember when it was a thriving neighborhood. He pointed out the locations of a former church, a small glove factory, and the houses of relatives.
In most of those lots, though, all that remains is grass. Approximately half of the buildings that once stood on Vance between Junction and Hoag have been demolished over the past 20 years.
Also of concern to Davis is the proximity of a local elementary school to the house.
“Kids walk down this street to go to Pickett School on Blum. When a building is unsecured kids might go in and get hurt or start a fire,” he said, adding that another nearby abandoned house suffered a similar fate several months ago.
Davis said that it has been hard to watch his neighborhood struggle.
“I grew up on this street, and my family lives right around here,” he said. “This is a neighborhood where everyone knows everybody else, and people look out for each other.”
This article is part of a regular feature I write for the Toledo Free Press called the ABLE Squad - "Abandoned Buildings Looking for Entrepreneurs."