CLEVELAND -- Since 2006, the city has spent more than $58 million to demolish about 7,600 abandoned and unsafe buildings.

There are still about 8,000 properties that should have a date with the wrecking ball. But the scope of the problem is taxing the city's available resources.

City Regional Development Director Chris Warren says the city is hoping to get more money for needed demolition from recent deals the federal government cut with big financial institutions that played a role in the foreclosure crisis.

Warren argues most city neighborhoods are not plagued by wholesale blight and healthy.

But he admits the problem of dealing with rundown buildings will be a long-term project.

"We're kind of halfway home. ... We are hopeful," he said.

The city has two less unwanted properties because of a suspected arsonist who torched them last week.

The homes were in a neighborhood near East 55th Street and Hawthorne Avenue.

The Rev. Coleman Barnes, a longtime resident, says the city needs to do more to get rid of abandoned, dangerous properties.

He says crime and prostitution flourish in the decrepit properties near where he lives.

But there are also vacant lots for new houses and some new retail stores that just opened up nearby.

He says demolition will clear the way for those who want to rebuild his community.

Barnes owns and lives in a house that Call and Post Publisher W.O. Walker raised his family in and hopes to preserve it as a piece of Cleveland history.

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