The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper


         Following the recent murder of a teenager in East Toledo, local officials have organized a public meeting at the Waite High School cafeteria on Thursday at 6 p.m. to find ways to reduce crime and improve the community.

        “We wanted to get together and talk about issues facing East Toledo,” said Lucas County Clerk of Courts Bernie Quilter, who was raised in East Toledo and now resides in Oregon. “We want to hear ideas from residents about how to make East Toledo vibrant again.”

        “This meeting was a reaction by a lot of people in the community who were very concerned about the shooting,” said Third District Councilman Peter Ujvagi, whose district includes East Toledo. He was referring to the murder of 16-year-old Northwood High School student Alexia Carey, who was shot in the chest on Nevada Street on March 11. She was taken to the hospital and later died of her injuries. Three teenagers and an adult have been charged in connection with the shooting.

        “The East Side has challenges that we have to address together,” said Ujvagi. “What can we do to improve things in East Toledo? There’s a lot of good things that are happening. But there are a lot of other things, particularly in terms of violence, that need to be addressed as well. The whole idea is to bring people together. We’re reaching out to schools, churches, neighborhoods, businesses and community organizations to come to this meeting. We need to get organized in East Toledo. “

        The public will have an opportunity to ask questions of officials who will be present, including representatives from the Lucas County Sheriff’s Office, the Toledo Police Department, the Toledo mayor’s office, the school district, and Engage Toledo. Also invited are at-large Toledo City Council members.

        “There will be an opportunity to highlight what people believe are the biggest problems we have to work on,” said Ujvagi. “People will really be able to express themselves about the problems as well as help find solutions. People will have a chance to be heard, give their opinions, and to hold elected officials accountable as well.”


Positive activities

        There will also be information about positive developments occurring in East Toledo, he added.

        “We’ll highlight the good things, such as activities along the riverfront, and the amount of work the land bank has done demolishing and rehabbing homes,” he said.

        “There’s so much potential,” said Quilter. “We could develop Main Street and turn it into a true business community again, where we have storefronts like the German Village that would attract people. The land bank has been incredible. We need to tear down more abandoned and dilapidated buildings. And we have to make people more responsible for their own properties. It doesn’t cost a lot to plant flowers in your yard. Just things like that could help make East Toledo attractive again.”


Better days

        East Toledo has definitely seen better days, said Quilter, who has fond memories of his childhood in East Toledo.

        “It was a thriving place. I grew up near Prentice Park. When I was little, the city used to drop off a shed 14 feet by 14 feet. Inside, there were crafts, baseballs, basketballs and other things. College kids in the summer would come out and get kids involved in crafts and organize baseball and basketball games. These sheds were in all the parks - Navarre, Oakdale, the High Level. Then we’d challenge and compete against the other parks. These were organized activities for kids during the day. That doesn’t exist anymore. We’re heading into the summer. We have to put activities together again for our youth.”

        Not long ago, East Toledo had its own economic developer, he added. “Even though that’s gone, we could still help people with such things as how to build a resume, apply for jobs and find work.”

        East Toledo also has to regain some political clout through voting, he said.

        “East Toledo has to become a solid voting bloc again. I’m sorry, but people put money into where the voters are. East Toledo gets some things, but not like they used to get. The 18th, 19th and 20th wards used to be huge voting blocs. Not anymore. People have got to get involved again.”

        Quilter said improving East Toledo is going to take some time and effort. But he believes it can be done.

        “We are not going to be able to solve everything in one night. There’s no way,” said Quilter. “But we can talk about the direction we want to go in.”






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