COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ruth Butts planned to retire to a quiet community after her job as a postal worker and sold the house she’d been in since a teenager to downsize to her dream home. But she bitterly regrets the decision now that she’s discovered what it means to be a neighbor of Eastland Mall.
Mice, says Ruth. And trash, and truck noises.
“We were so excited about it, but it wasn’t like anything we were told,” she said, coming out of her neatly-kept front yard. “I moved out here to this nice little community, it was so sweet out here. And now it just looks like a big trash can.”
That was three years ago in March. Six months after moving in, Ruth said trash blowing into her yard became a problem. Then the noise of trucks late at night.
Potholes appeared in the road, deep enough to damage her car and blow out tires during winter weather when snow covers the holes, she said.
“Your car is going to get messed up every time. And you can complain to the city…we don’t know who to call,” she said.
Mice appeared in November. The vermin overran the neighborhood.
“When I first started noticing them, you could see them on the side of the house,” she said. Ruth’s son put down traps.
He caught seven mice in two days.
“That’s a shame we have to have that in the front yard of a brand-new house,” Ruth said, pointing to a large black trap in front of her garage. “They run out here and under his air conditioner, under mine.”
Ruth pointed to the corner of the street. Across it is Eastland Mall. “If you walk up by that pole,” she said, “it’s just mouse holes. And I tell my son, ‘Oh-oh, we’re going to have trouble.’ He said, ‘You can’t put something in somebody else’s yard.'”
Hope came for Ruth and her neighbors last year when the city announced it planned to build a park on the 78 acres nearby, and had acquired the acreage for about $1.5 million. But so far, no change has materialized for the little neighborhood.
“You’re embarrassed to tell people to drive into here. This is not what it was supposed to be. This was supposed to be my retirement home,” she said.
After a moment, she added: “I have thought about moving.”
Other neighbors approached NBC4 but didn’t want to be named. They complained about the trash, discarded tires, mattresses, and potholes that make their neighborhood a miserable sight — and which they can’t do anything about.
City Attorney Zach Klein’s office said on Thursday they have filed code violations against the owners of Eastland Mall, and against the owners of the property which has the trucks.
“We have no [crime] trouble here,” Ruth said, gesturing to her neighborhood — and a neighbor waved back to her. “It’s so sad. I just wish they would clean that up. You spend your money, you think you’re investing, and you’re still back where you started from.”