"As she raked trash from the lawn of a boarded-up house to keep it from blowing into her yard, Cindy Olejniczak was not at all surprised to hear that her city neighborhood is among the emptiest in America.
She's been watching the life drain from it for years.
"I'd move in a heartbeat if I had somewhere to go right now," she said, frustrated at what the decline has done to the worth of her home and quality of life. Not even pizzerias will deliver here now.
Government figures say about one of every three houses around Olejniczak are vacant. The homes across the street and on one side have been torn down, along with the house on the diagonal corner.
The house on the other side of hers is standing but boarded up, its lawn a tangle of overgrown weeds, pizza boxes, liquor bottles and wrappers. It's an eyesore she got so tired of looking at on a recent afternoon that she grabbed a shovel, rake, broom and a box of trash bags and, with her 81-year-old mother, got to work."