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Confidence key in neighborhood effort to save historic Toledo church from demolition.

Confidence key in neighborhood effort to save historic Toledo church from demolition.

Although St. Anthony Church had been a beacon for service to the community from the corner of Nebraska and Junction avenues for more than 100 years, its imminent demolition in 2018 was a public health concern for neighborhood residents.

They were concerned about their health and safety because a chain-link fence was the only protection for nearby homes demolition debris. Children in the neighborhoods suffered from asthma, and other health issues and the neighbors were very concerned that that demolition would exacerbate children’s health problems.

St. Anthony Church celebrated its first mass at the corner of Nebraska and Junction avenues in 1894. The parish grew to serve a community of as many as 8,000 parishioners in the 1970s. But after the Roman Catholic Diocese of Toledo Catholic Diocese closed the church in 2005 because of declining attendance, the church was vacant for more than a decade and was scheduled to be demolished in 2018.

With renewed confidence in their power to improve the neighborhood (link to news item #1 listed above), the Junction Coalition issued a public call to action for city officials and the Mayor to stop the demolition of St. Anthony’s Church.

After researching and determining several legal deficiencies in the planned demolition process, ABLE provided the legal arguments supporting the Junction Coalition’s position.
Based on the legal defects, Toledo’s mayor issued a stop-work order, which allowed the Diocese to gift the building to the Lucas County Land Bank.

Junction representatives are now part of a team of people determining plans for a new use and redevelopment of the church.

Landbank officials were at the church in August 2019, evaluating the masonry and other work needed before the building gets its new use.

About the author

Advocates for Basic Legal Equality

Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc. (ABLE) is a non-profit regional law firm that provides high quality legal assistance in civil matters to help eligible low-income individuals and groups in western Ohio achieve self reliance, and equal justice and economic opportunity.