Author(s): Center for Community Progress
In fall 2015, Community Progress worked with the Lucas County Land Reutilization Corporation, in partnership with the Junction Coalition and the City of Toledo to develop a long-term ownership and cost-effective maintenance framework for the extensive inventory of vacant land in the Junction neighborhood.
The Junction neighborhood in Toledo, Ohio, is home to many small businesses like Mrs. Gilmore’s Salon and Boutique and Mr. Liddell’s Barbershop—open every day but Sunday and Monday for the last thirty years. Many of Junction’s children attend Pickett Academy—surrounded by an educational rain garden, a bioswale project reflecting state-of-the-art urban environmentalism, and a number of historic churches.
In addition to its diverse business and community programs, its thriving and passionate residents, and its legacy of African-American leadership and institutions in the heart of the Rust Belt, Junction, like many neighborhoods throughout the country, reflects the marks of systemic disinvestment. Urban renewal and other similar federal, state, and local programs in the latter half of the twentieth century separated Junction from its neighbors through strategically placed highways that decimated the once thriving African-American business district and the homesteads of many Junction families. This historic disinvestment—coupled with the more recent impacts of the Great Recession of the twenty-first century, the foreclosure crisis, and the loss of major Toledo-based industry and its jobs—left a wake of physical vacancy and abandonment that Junction leaders are determined to address. Vacant lots and vacant, substandard properties are widespread throughout the Junction community and constitute a heavy weight on the backs of Junction residents seeking to (re)build a vibrant, thriving neighborhood. Out of the approximately 4,700 total parcels in the Junction neighborhood, 1,700 are vacant lots and over 400 are vacant structures—a combined total neighborhood vacancy rate of 45%.
Community Progress worked with the Trust for Public Land to develop the Junction Open Space Action Plan, a resident-informed, practical vision for Junction grounded in an understanding of the systems of vacancy and abandonment. This plan practically reimagines the posibilities for Junction’s vas inventory of vacant land and opens up a more detailed and meaningful discussion between the land bank, the City, and coalition partners about future policies, operations, and practices.
See our companion report for more on the cost of vacant property in Toledo.