Mayor highlights strategy to rid Cleveland neighborhoods of blighted homes

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson announced Thursday morning a strategy to remove blighted homes from Cleveland neighborhoods.

The strategy is part of the Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative, which is aimed at improving Cleveland's neighborhoods.

According to the Mayor Jackson's office, the program will demolish and rehab hundreds of blighted homes by the end of 2017. Dilapidated homes could pose a safety hazard. The homes selected for demolition were identified along the routes children take to school. Mayor Jackson said since 2006, nearly 9000 homes have been demolished.

Mayor Jackson was joined with the Cleveland Chief of Police Calvin Williams, Director of City Planning Freddy Collier, and others. Following the press conference, three vacant homes were demolished near the intersection of 93rd Street and Gaylord Avenue.

With the crashing sounds of the abandoned home coming down, Damon DeFreeze got emotional. In January, his daughter Alianna went missing on her way to school. Police found her body in abandoned home days later.

DeFreeze and his family have created a foundation in their daughter's honor that's focused on getting rid of abandoned homes and providing a safe transportation for children to get to school.

"It feels good I actually dropped a couple of tears over here. We're just glad steps are being taken to get them knocked down. For these children to be able to feel a lot safer in the morning when its pitch black out here that is a lot of reassurance to them that things are changing," said DeFreeze.

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