(Toledo, OH) Lillian Barringer is fed up about the house at 901 Colburn.
“I almost can’t stand to be here any more,” she said. “The mice and rats from that place are bad enough, but there are people going in there to do drugs. Sometimes they set up shop and sell them right out of the house.”
Barringer said that her complaints bring no response from the city.
“I have called every city department to get something done about that place, but nothing ever happens,” she said, noting that the two-family house has been vacant for at least four years. “Why should my granddaughter have to grow up around a dangerous building like that?”
Angry residents in the vicinity of South and the Trail have been talking about taking matters into their own hands, said Barringer.
“I am afraid that somebody will decide to burn the place down to get rid of it,” she said. “I don’t want my house to go up in flames at the same time, but it wouldn’t be the first time that people solved a problem by burning down an abandoned house.”
The property is owned by an Inkster, MI man named Nelson White, and efforts to contact him were unsuccessful. Neighbor Angela Morgan said that she is not surprised.
“This person is the typical absentee landlord who invests nothing in the property and lives far away,” she said. “He doesn’t care what goes on in the place, and no one’s been out here to work on it in years. This would be a great street if it wasn’t for that house.”
Morgan said that prostitutes have been known to frequent the building, and that feral cats are in the house.
“The dog warden said that they won’t come out for cats,” she said. “It’s like a jungle on the outside of that house, and a zoo on the inside.”
On the day the ABLE Squad visited, two windows and one door were unsecured, providing easy access to intruders. Clothing, empty food and beverage containers, and a radio provided evidence of recent inhabitation by unauthorized persons.
Morgan is concerned that local children may be in danger from the property.
“There is a rope hanging from the tree in back, and we are constantly chasing away kids who want to play there,” she said. “I worry that one of those kids might hurt themselves on that tree or in the garbage that’s in the yard.”
This article is part of a regular feature I write for the Toledo Free Press called the ABLE Squad - "Abandoned Buildings Looking for Entrepreneurs."