Demolition begins in Cuyahoga Land bank redevelopment project East Cleveland (Plain Dealer)

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — The first tug at the dilapidated building by the trio of excavators  brought a “ooh” from the crowd of officials and neighbors.

The first crash of bricks, wood and glass brought a cheer.

The demolition of 24 apartment buildings and 31 homes in an area near Hartshorn Road and Euclid Avenue began under brilliantly sunny skies this morning — almost immediately clouded by the dust that kicked up as the buildings came down.

The $900,000 demolition project is being financed by federal funds funneled through The Cuyahoga Land Bank to create three redevelopment sites for housing or small commercial construction.

“This is truly transforming — putting the region’s resources to work,” said East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton Jr. “Most importantly, the people of East Cleveland have been waiting for this. The people here need relief from these vacant, abandoned apartment buildings, vacant houses.”

Norton thanked Land Bank President Gus Frangos for the agency’s decision to take a chance on the East Cleveland properties, which had languished for years.

Neighbor Beverly Scrim has lived in the neighborhood since 1966. She said it “will be a blessing” to see the run-down buildings torn down  — and hopefully replaced by newer housing and commercial buildings.

“This used to be a neighborhood where people raised their families, not where raccoons ran through the buildings and everything was run down,” she said. “Neighbors were neighbors back then, but things got pretty bad for a while.

“Now, this is a good thing for East Cleveland.”

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