CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -Through an order issued by the Cleveland Municipal Housing Court, the Buckeye neighborhood will soon seen improvements made to a vacant, formerly condemned, building that has plagued the area.
“I don’t think it’s just a success for Buckeye. It’s a huge success for us citywide because it can really let people know that if the community can come together, get the right people in elected positions, and have a little visibility from your local news, things can change,” said Brandon Chrostowski.
The mixed-use building at 13000 Buckeye Road, next to Edwins Butcher Shop and campus was condemned seven years ago and has since gone through several owners.
This week, Housing Court Judge W. Mona Scott ordered the owners, G1G6 LLC, to pay a $19,000 fine, and gave them three years of community control (probation).
According to the order, the owners cannot transfer the property without consent from the court, they must provide a probation officer with progress reports and access to the property, and they have to provide permits and a repair plan within 60 days.
The attorney for the building owner, Bradley Hull, says they continue to make substantial improvements.
“The work to the exterior is all but completed, and just two weeks ago the City approved its plans to do an entire renovation to the interior. GIG6 LLC is working as diligently as it can despite the pandemic and economic slowdown to complete all work as quickly as possible. GIG6 LLC appreciated Judge Scott’s observation at the October 22, 2020 hearing that it had good intentions with this property. GIG6 LLC looks forward to continuing to work with its contractors, City of Cleveland Building Department agents, and Housing Court specialists to complete this massive renovation project as quickly as possible," he said.
Chrostowski says the tipping point was a change in housing court judge.
“Judge Mona Scott really answered the bell when it came to her campaign promise of abandoned buildings on the east side and seeing them gone,” he said.
He also credits pressure from community activists and attention from local media outlets, like the 19 News story published in September.
“Media exposed what’s going on. They really put some visibility on to a situation that occurs not just here on Buckeye but across the city of Cleveland. It needs to be told. The story needs to be told,” he said.
Chrostowski was frustrated for a long time because he was able to move quicker on improving the neighborhood and wanted to see other owners do the same.
In a matter of just three months, Edwins Restaurant and Leadership Institute tore down one house next to the vacant building and created a park for the residents of their campus to enjoy.
They also renovated another adjacent house and were able to move a family from their program in.
“The neighborhood, Brandon is improving it. Just the year that I’ve been here a lot of things have happened and grown and I’m happy to be a part of it," said Mike Calhoun, an Edwin’s graduate and employee, who moved into the home with his girlfriend and her son.
There will be a status hearing on December 10th to check on the progress made by the building ownership.