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Cleveland councilman steps in to help homeowner living next to overgrown lot

Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 6:41 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - After previously contacting 19 News for an interview last week, Tommie Gideons Jr. now has a city figure ready to help address his concerns with a dangerously overgrown plot of land.

“You’re only complaining about what you deserve,” Ward 6 Councilman Blaine Griffin said while visiting the property on East 81st Street, “and you deserve to not have to look out your window, come out of your house and see this.”

Gideons first called the 19 News Troubleshooter line looking for help.

The lot next door became a breeding ground for vermin, and its overgrown trees grew closer and closer to his home; one large branch already damaged his garage.

Now, Griffin is pitching in and rallying as many departments as he can.

“I am going to reach out to public works…I also really do need to talk to the urban forestry department,” Griffin said.

Just as crucial to the property is its current ownership status. The land in the Fairfax neighborhood is owned by a private individual, who is responsible for the state of the lot. “We got to really crack down on this absentee landlord,” the councilman added.

According to Griffin, city workers cleared a section of tall grass last week but were only able to treat the space a few feet from the sidewalk—a giant sinkhole keeps maintenance crews from going deeper.

“These foundations were buried,” Griffin explained, ”so when they buried these foundations, you can’t run tractors through here.”

Griffin hopes to address this and many other cases of poor personal property management in the Ward that can serve as a means to encourage the surrounding communities.

“We need to be dragging that person into court, and we need to make sure they’re held responsible in housing court,” He said.

In the meantime, he added the owner of the E. 81st property must begin to care for the land under their name: “That person should treat this property as if it was next to her house where she lives at,” he said.

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