For the second time in months, an abandoned building has exploded in the city of Cleveland, injuring nearly one dozen people.
Yesterday, an abandoned convenience store on the city’s southeast side, exploded injuring 11 people. The force of the explosion, according to local media, could be felt for 2 miles.
In Janurary, a home exploded on the west side that damaged 55 homes and displaced 15 families. Police have since charged a neighbor with arson.
As a Cleveland resident, I have to say, this is a very concerning trend. I wonder, are other cities experiencing this? Will this help draw needed attention to the issue of vacant and abandoned property? How long before one of these becomes a real tragedy and a child is killed?
From the Flint Journal via Flint Expatriates:
Former Genesee County Treasurer Daniel Kildee is pushing for reforms to allow local governments to sue property owners who don’t take care of their homes- the proposed system would allow the Genesee County Landbank to recover costs of cleaning and fixing up homes, according to Flint Expatriates.
I’m curious to see if this idea goes further. A few years ago, when I was writing stories about vacant properties in Lorain, Ohio, Kildee’s Genesee County Landbank was often cited as a model other cities should copy.
Kildee is now the head of the Center for Community Progress.
“Cleveland won’t be reborn until it buries its dead,” a Cleveland Magazine article explains, and the ghosts haunting Cleveland are some 8,000 vacant and abandoned homes.
Photo by Billy Delfs via Cleveland Magazine.
They draw drug dealers and prostitutes while dragging down surrounding homes’ values. Mayor Frank Jackson has stepped up efforts to bring the problem under control in recent years. But annual foreclosure rates hovering around 14,000, means the city is aiming at a moving target.
“There’s a lot more supply than there is demand,” says Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis. “If there was huge demand for this housing, people would be moving into it.”