Old CLE Slavic Village bank building leaves residents concerned about safety

Old CLE Slavic Village bank building leaves residents concerned about safety

CLEVELAND — Cleveland Slavik Village business owner James Dotson is living the dream, opening a hot dog cafe last summer on Broadway Street, but he believes the city needs to do more to address vacant buildings along that commercial corridor.

Dotson told News 5 that the old Erie Savings and Loan building located just 500 feet from his business poses a real danger to neighborhood children and he hopes the city of Cleveland invests more resources along the vibrant Broadway business district.

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“I remember when I was a kid, business was booming on Broadway, it’s changed a lot, you know. Of course, I just wish they would bring in more financing like they do out west. If you go to Ohio City, it’s crazy over there,” Dotson said. “It’s too bad, even if you look at the old bank here, and you walk in there, there’s rubble everywhere. They’ve just got to figure out what they’re going to do with these abandoned buildings. Some of them they can knock down, some of them they can knock down. ‘Get them back and bring them back.’

Old CLE Slavic Village bank building leaves residents concerned about neighborhood safety

Cody Murphy

James Dotson, co-owner of the newly opened The Hotdog Cafe at 7529 Broadway Avenue in Cleveland’s Slavic Village neighborhood

News residents have been complaining about safety in the old bank building for years, said Odetta Jordan, executive director of the Southeast Cleveland Slavic Village Resource Center.

“It’s terrible for the fire hazard. It’s terrible for people breaking into that, they could fall through the floor if they don’t overdose in there,” Jordan said. “There are a lot of buildings, especially here on Broadway, in this state that are collapsing. I don’t know why they keep looking at these buildings.

Jordan said she cannot understand why the city of Cleveland has not yet condemned the old bank building, which it believes poses a danger to school children. Jordan said the city has not fulfilled its funding promise to improve the Slavic Village neighborhood.

“There’s a daycare, there’s a school like I said, there’s a housing project just two blocks away, and these kids walk by that every day,” Jordan said. “We were hit so hard when the housing crisis hit that we were going to go see money for development, but when the ARPA money came and reached the southeast neighborhoods, we were passed over.”

News 5 contacted a representative of the bank building’s ownership group in New York, and we’re told it’s a veritable cat-and-mouse game trying to keep the building safe, with vagrants removing boarded-up doorways almost every week. News 5 was told the property is trying to obtain federal grants, which would help pay for the demolition of the old building, something the property hopes to secure within the next six months.

Meanwhile, the City of Cleveland Department of Building and Housing responded to our story with the following statement:

We have received complaints in recent months regarding inspection and preparation requests related to this property and have worked to complete them as quickly as possible. We will do the same for this latest complaint, which we received late Friday.

We will be sending an inspector this week who will help determine next steps, which could include issuing a violation notice and — if the property owner does not comply — requesting a search warrant, followed by possible condemnation and demolition.

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(tags for translation)Cleveland

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