When your neighborhood cancer goes away

This story started 18 Aug. of 2008. It ended Feb 14, 2024. 16 years of hell on Bonner Street thanks to one house, holding one family and a community powerless to stop the insanity.

My neighbors and I are all still in a state of disbelief. No longer do we have to listen to vehicles with no exhausts, pealing out burning rubber, blasting music, screaming fights, police visits, fire trucks, ambulances, shooting, burning toxic trash, barking dogs, daily disruption. The cancer has left the building- and the only question is why did it take this long?

If you don’t know the back story, it’s well documented in this post: Dealing with a neighborhood cancer. You should probably read it and cycle back here.

I’m not sure if rising property taxes drove them to do it, or as the mob would say, they “got an offer they couldn’t refuse.”

It took $110,000 to get them out of here. Money, the neighbors would have almost surely paid themselves if they knew it could cure our little block of the disease that this family brought to our block.

Enriquez Investments LLC, owns 30 properties in Montgomery County, including one other in South Park on Jay street . The Secretary of State lists the owner as Aldo Enriquez 1138 Driftwood Dr. Fairborn OH 45324. Aldo is our savior who bought 121 Bonner. Yet, he is suffering the same issues in 2024 that started my political career in 1986- he’s run afoul of the City’s historic zoning machine- where there is no restrictive covenant or warning in the deed of the special requirements to rehabilitate a junk house in the historic district.

121 Bonner is bigger than my house by at least a bedroom- and yet, the Crouch’s paid $500 less for it in 2008 than I paid for mine in 1986. Poor Aldo paid through the nose to take over a property that had 2 30 yard dumpsters worth of junk in it- and a yard that was full of junk and debris. And now, he has a stop work order plastered on the door. Almost 40 years later- and our city still hasn’t figured out how to work with investors/home owners to rehab these old homes properly.

This isn’t the only problem house on our block, but it was the worst cancer. We still have a hoarder who was forced out of his beautiful home that he’d destroyed by filling it with 7 30 yard dumpsters full of junk. When his wife had a stroke in the upstairs bathroom, the fire department had to lower her out the window- because they couldn’t get the gurney through the house. The house was condemned and they moved 2 doors down into a small shotgun cottage rental (which has a zombie title and can’t be sold). They are planning to move back into their wreck of a home- and he claims the city isn’t requiring an occupancy permit (may or may not be true). What I do know is that he only parks 2 of his diesel VW’s on the street now- instead of the 6 clunkers he had (2 burned behind the cottage last year).

The house between the hoarders home and the hoarders rental, directly across the street from me has sold twice last year- first in foreclosure for $103,200 in May and then for $130K in July. There were dumpsters full of crap hauled out- and a mad rush to fix it up to flip- and then, nothing for months. It was the only house on this block that looked well kept when I bought mine in 1986, and I thought then- they fixed theirs up, then I do mine- and soon, I’ll be able to sell and make good money and leave. Here I am, 38 years later- and owning 4 buildings on the block.

How our property taxes are calculated is part of the problem causing not only gentrification and social stratification- but, also making it more difficult to keep affordable livable housing viable in our community. Very few neighborhoods are able to do what South Park has done in the last 40 years- and it’s not all necessarily a good thing. What was once one of the most diverse both racially and economically neighborhoods in the city- has become less diverse on both counts.

The one thing that helped were the historic zoning ordinances that stopped the demolition of questionable homes. We’ve had multiple properties come back after fires- where as in other neighborhoods there would be an empty lot. We’ve had some infill built- mostly with city subsidies during Rehabarama days. We’ve had a few investors take on a large number of homes and turn them around themselves- without getting rich- but making our community a richer place for all.

What we’ve not been able to do, is deal with folks like our cancer- who made it harder for all to live here. Long gone is our community based police officer, who once worked with a social worker paid for by Miami Valley Hospital- who tried to mediate and work with problems like that.

We’re only now seeing a return of a neighborhood building inspector, who comes to the neighborhood meetings. Who writes people up for building violations or trash on the porch or in the yard.

The neighborhood is experiencing a baby boom. In fact we have so many folks with kids under 5 meeting at Blommel park, that when our new playground equipment came and was for ages 5 and up, they banded together and raised $70K in less than 3 months and bought some under 5 friendly equipment and had it installed. The big question is will they stay once their kids hit 5- or will they move out or send their kids to any schools other than Dayton Public? For years, I’ve watched the exodus of families once the kids turn 5, and prayed for the day when they stay.

For now, there’s peace on Bonner Street, and a huge dumpster that’s been sitting for 3 weeks- awaiting the lifting of the Stop Work Order. Neighbors are happy, and the biggest disturbance is the insane car traffic Emerson School has funneled down our street each morning at 7:15- but that they are planning to change the drop off plan for next school year.

Word is that the cancer moved over to the Huffman Historic district- and within a day, someone told them they can’t park their truck half in the street and half in the yard… they complained that they had an “Esrati over there” to their relative who still lives 2 doors the other way over from me. Sorry Huffman, you’re on your own- the city still doesn’t know how to enforce community standards that work for all of us. The cancer didn’t die, it just moved.

And here’s a musical addition to this post:

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