Abandoned warehouse on Elm Street creates problems for neighboring businesses

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) — An abandoned warehouse on Elm Street in Toledo has been a problem for Toledo residents for decades.

The problems with the warehouse began in 2009 when 20-year-old Cindy Sumner was found dead inside. Since then, squatters, adults, and neighborhood kids have taken over the warehouse, causing concern among neighbors.

Neighbors recently reported that children were throwing large rocks from an abandoned building. Neighbors say these kids are damaging tow trucks and cars parked at the tow facility across the street.

Merle Ulch, owner of a tow truck company, said the children caused a lot of damage that he had to pay for.

“I would say $4,000 a month ago, and four trucks this year is probably about another two or $3,000. These are customer vehicles that we repair here,” Ulch said.

He thinks it’s an issue he shouldn’t be dealing with, as city officials have said for years that they’ll demolish the site.

“The building had to be demolished because bodies were found there in the past. And it’s hard to tell if there’s any more out there, homeless people living there and all that. No one will enter this building, they are afraid, the police were even afraid to enter the building,” Ulch said.

Ulch said he called the city and the land bank several times, but to no avail.

“They directed us to call the mayor, and you can’t get through to the mayor. It’s an escape, that’s all. This is where the police come in and tell them there’s nothing you can do to contact the mayor. So what is the police station for?” Ulch said.

Unlike many properties in the city, this demolition is in the hands of the Land Bank, not the demolition department. David Mann, president and CEO of the Land Bank, said the environmental work to remove the asbestos would begin next week and the building would be demolished shortly thereafter.

Ulch said it was time. “It will be much better because the kids can’t go there and hide and have a party inside the building instead of being at home with their parents who have to take care of them,” Ulch said.

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