Lakewood’s Scenic Park House Project Underway

lakewood1In our work at the Cuyahoga Land Bank, we are always on the lookout for innovative ways to bring new life to vacant and abandoned property. A new home construction project currently underway in Lakewood surely fits the bill. On May 18, the Cuyahoga Land Bank joined LakewoodAlive, developers Prairie Stone Group, Lakewood Mayor Michael Summers, and dozens of community residents at the Scenic Park House Project launch party to celebrate the beginning of excavation and new home construction on a formerly vacant lot.

lakewood2The new home will stand tall among neighboring houses as a true community collaboration project.  The Cuyahoga Land Bank oversaw the demolition of an abandoned home on the property three years ago and had maintained the lot ever since.  After assessment by LakewoodAlive, the City of Lakewood and the Cuyahoga Land Bank, it was determined that a new single-family home could be built on the site, bringing new life to the Scenic Park Neighborhood, the westernmost neighborhood in Lakewood overlooking the Rocky River Reservation.

lakewood3The Cuyahoga Land Bank transferred the property to LakewoodAlive in January, and in March, the title was transferred to Prairie Stone Group, which was selected as the project’s developers after a thorough proposal process.  Construction on the home should be complete in about nine months! Freshwater Cleveland also highlighted the story.

Posted in 2016.6.1, Newsletter

Cuyahoga Land Bank Selects New Communications Partner

The Cuyahoga Land Bank is pleased to announce our new communications partner, Riverside Communications Group.  Riverside is a full-service mLand Bank Staff arketing and public relations firm located in Cleveland.  As our new communications partner, Riverside will develop and manage a dynamic marketing, media relations and social media strategy that reflects the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s mission.
“The Cuyahoga Land Bank continues to grow in scope and scale, and we need to be communicating with people in new and creative ways,” said Gus Frangos, President and General Counsel for the Cuyahoga Land Bank.  “With an ever-growing portfolio of renovated properties and new and innovative programs, including the B.R.A.I.N. (Buying and Retaining Academic Interest Now) Program and the Homefront Veterans Home Ownership Program, we felt the need to find a partner that can help us reach our diverse audience,” said Frangos.
Riverside has a successful track record of working with Northeast Ohio non-profit organizations, including many organizations focused on economic development.  Riverside’s President Terri Kevany also led the marketing team for the Greater Cleveland Growth Association and its successor, the Greater Cleveland Partnership, for many years.
“We chose Riverside Communications Group for their straight-forward approach, ability to hit the ground running and strong communications and media relations experience in the economic development arena,” said Frangos.  “Riverside’s addition to our team brings a perfect blend of strategic thinking and modern communications,” he said.  “We look forward to enhanced communications that will allow us to tell our story and engage new audiences that can benefit from our work.”

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Posted in 2016.5.2, Newsletter

CUDC “Design [re] Build” Partnership

The Cuyahoga Land Bank has many opportunities to partner with community organizations to help improve property values through blight removal and improved green spaces.

design 1The latest partnership had the Cuyahoga Land Bank joining an existing partnership between St. Clair Superior Development Corporation (SCSDC) and Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC). St. Clair Superior acquired a vacant house at 1047 East 67th St., which CUDC architecture students participated in a “Design [re] Build” program. The students also designed a complete renovation for the home and played a strong role in the actual construction.

Next door to the “Design [re] Build” home, the Cuyahoga Land Bank acquired a blighted house and demolished it. CCLRC then utilized allocations from Ohio’s Hardest Hit Fund to “green” the lot, including new landscaping and fencing. The Cuyahoga Land Bank has agreed to sell the space to St. Clair Superior as a Side Yard Expansion for the newly renovated home.

design 2Like many Cleveland properties, the “Design [re] Build” home had very little green space, so the addition of the side yard will give a future homeowner the opportunity to grow a garden and enjoy the space with friends and family.  This project is a perfect example of community partners working together to both retain and add value to properties in order to help jump start housing in Cleveland neighborhoods. The “Design [re] Build” home and yard is currently for sale at a very reasonable price. If you are interested in learning more or touring the house, please contact Andrea Bruno at SCSDC at 216.881.0644, ext. 108.

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Posted in 2016.5.2, Newsletter

Rooms to Let: Success

Rooms to Let:CLE brought over two thousand visitors to the Slavic Village neighborhood for the third year in a row of fantastic art exhibits. Great job to Paul Williams Cuyahoga Land Bank, DemoliLand Bank Staff tion Inspector who was a featured artist!   Rooms To Let is yet another successful collaboration between Slavic Village Development Corporation and the Cuyahoga Land Bank.

Posted in Uncategorized

President’s Message Memorial Day 2016

Of the many gratifying experiences working at the Cuyahoga Land Bank, providing housing for our military veterans is at the top of the list.  How can you thank someone enough who chooses to serLand Bank Staff ve in our nation’s Armed Forces? One way, of course, is to honor our men and women in the armed forces at our places of work, worship and in our daily lives.  At the Cuyahoga Land Bank this year, we have had the privilege of honoring our Veterans by providing housing for ten men and women soldiers through our home renovation and repurposing programs.  As we do each year, we deeply thank our men and women in the Armed Forces and their families. We also salute those fallen heroes, and pray God’s comfort and peace for their families.

Posted in 2016.5.2, Newsletter

Riverside Communications | CUDC – 2016.5.2

5.2.16

Posted in 2016.5.2, Newsletter

Did You Know…

The Cuyahoga Land Bank has been involved in nearly a dozen collaborations with social service organizations and non-profits in the region that offer affordable housing, community stabilization, and skilled training opportunities. Our mission is to reduce blight, increase property values, and improve quality of life for county residents through property acquisition, renovation and demolition. One of the ways we accomplish this is by working collaboratively with organizations throughout Cuyahoga County to actively advance their missions and find unique property uses that benefit our community’s most in-need citizens.

By donating property to local organizations and churches, we’ve been able to help others make a real impact in their communities in a variety of ways. These properties have been renovated by volunteers and utilized as affordable housing for single mothers, homeless veterans, recovery housing, and much more. This is just the beginning of our collaborative efforts, and so much more can be done when we work together!

Collaborating with the Cuyahoga Land Bank 101

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 10.53.58 AMThe Cuyahoga Land Bank is hosting a Community Collaboration Workshop at the City Mission at 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, June 15 for leaders of faith-based and non-profit organizations in Cuyahoga County.

Workshop participants will network and learn about ways to work with the Land Bank to stabilize our community, repurpose vacant land and expand affordable housing options for our county’s citizens.

Space is limited. Those interested in attending the workshop can register HERE.

Posted in Did you Know?

Capsule Discovered!

You never know what you will find when demolishing a structure.  The CuLand Bank Staff yahoga Land Bank recently discovered a time capsule at the Masonic Temple demolition site in Shaker Heights. The time capsule was turned over to the Temple, and we can’t wait to find out what the Masonics find inside.  Stay tuned…

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Posted in 2016.5.1, Did you Know?, Newsletter

Smart Thinking Workshop

In April, the Cuyahoga Land Bank hosted its Smart Thinking workshop at Cleveland State University. The workshop highlighted the Cuyahoga Land Bank BRAIN Program and educated students on the benefits of home ownership. Neighborhood Housing ServLand Bank Staff ices participated in the workshop and provided students with information on how to financially prepare themselves for home ownership. Over thirty students attended the event and several have already applied as new applicants to the BRAIN Program!

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Posted in 2016.5.1, Did you Know?, Uncategorized

Engineers and Cuyahoga Land Bank Kick-Off Workforce Program

Demolition can be a very dangerous and complicated business – unless you know what you are doing! The folks at International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 18 (“Local 18”) know exactly what they are doing. Local 18 is dedicated to training future apprentices and journeymen in the operation of heavy equipment.  Its Trust Fund helps pay the students during their classroom training on equipment operation, OSHA compliance, safety and technical skills.

local-18-people“You know they are serious about training when they have gone above and beyond to create a Trust Fund, own their demolition equipment, and have invested in a facility for hands-on training,” said Gus Frangos, President of the Cuyahoga Land Bank. Frangos and Local 18 created a partnership where students could get on-the-job training on Cuyahoga Land Bank demolition sites while supervised by expert union heavy equipment operators. “This was a perfect opportunity for our students to get live demolition experience on Cuyahoga Land Bank demolition sites,” said Richard Dalton, Local 18 Business Manager. “We look forward to our continued partnership with the Cuyahoga Land Bank,” he added.

local-18-construction-siteThe Cuyahoga Land Bank will compensate Local 18 for its demolition work to help the union continue its program, maintain equipment and serve more students.  The Cuyahoga Land Bank will, in turn, expend less for each demolition performed under the partnership. Cheryl Stephens, Director of Acquisitions, Development and Disposition at the Cuyahoga Land Bank crafted the details of the program and identified a 12-suite condemned and abandoned apartment at East 105th and Lee Avenue as the first demolition site. Students will all be from Cuyahoga County with an emphasis on urban and minority communities.

Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish has strongly advocated for quality workforce programs. “Our administration has worked on numerous community development projects with the Cuyahoga Land Bank. We know that opportunities for young people and exposure to workforce experience is key to helping them develop the careers of their choice,” said Budish.

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Posted in Blog

Allen County Land Reutilization Moving Forward with Demolishing Pipeline Properties (YNN)

By Jenna Siffringer, YNN

The Allen County Land Reutilization Corporation is making progress with demolishing pipeline properties.

Land Bank Treasurer Rachael Gilroy says Ohio received $94.5 million through the Ohio Finance Agency’s Neighborhood Initiative Program to demolish residential structures.

Continue reading from the source.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Land bank incorporated (Community Common)

By Community Common

On Tuesday the Scioto County Commissioners passed a resolution designating the Scioto County Land Reutilization Corporation the authoritative body to handle the counties blighted housing stock, with the goal of eventually putting it back on the tax rolls.

Local leaders have gathered a few times to discuss the importance of a county land bank and the potential impact it could have on the community.

Continue reading from the source.

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Posted in Relevant News

Slay on vacant lots – You mow it, you own it (Fox 2 Now)

By Shawndrea Thomas, Fox 2 Now

ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay joined Aldermen Cara Spencer (20th Ward) and Chris Carter (27th Ward) in announcing the St. Louis Land Reutilization Authority’s ‘Mow to Own’ program as a means to restore blighted properties by incentivizing homeowners in the neighborhood.

Under the Mow to Own program, residents who live adjacent to a vacant LRA property can purchase temporary ownership of the land for just $125, but only if they agree to maintain it.

Continue reading from the source.

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Posted in Relevant News

Land Bank demos abandoned homes (Lancaster Eagle Gazette)

By Spencer Remoquillo, Lancaster Eagle Gazette

LANCASTER – A number of the city’s dilapidated homes known for decreasing surrounding property values and creating vermin havens have come toppling down over the past six months.

Neighbors, who have endured the eyesores in some cases for decades, stood at the edge of the properties and watched them come down with gratitude.

Continue reading from the source.

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Posted in Relevant News

Lawrence County to consider establishing land bank (Herald Dispatch)

By David Malloy, Herald Dispatch

IRONTON – Lawrence County could establish a land bank program that would buy up residential and commercial abandoned and dilapidated properties with the goal of getting them back on the tax rolls.

County Treasurer Steve Burcham proposed the land bank program at last week’s Board of Commissioners meeting, and it could be adopted at Thursday’s meeting in Ironton.

Continue reading from the source.

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Posted in Relevant News

Upstate New York Cities to Illuminate Blight (Next City)

By Jen Kinney, Next City

Public art installations in Albany, Schenectady and Troy will illuminate hundreds of vacant buildings across the three New York cities to draw attention to urban blight,reports the Troy Record, and to encourage potential buyers to invest in their revitalization.

The brainchild of local artist Adam Frelin and architect Barbara Nelson, “Breathing Lights” intends to renew interest and investment in city neighborhoods with high vacancy rates. To support action on these issues, the project also includes eight months of programming and events.

Continue reading from the source.

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Posted in Relevant News

Champaign County considers land bank to fight blight (Springfield News-Sun)

By Matt Sanctis, Springfield News-Sun

Champaign County leaders are researching if it makes sense to start a land bank, part of a growing trend in which rural counties across Ohio are looking for ways to deal with a glut of vacant and abandoned properties.

The Logan-Union-Champaign Regional Planning Commission is collecting data from Urbana and villages in Champaign County to determine how many abandoned properties are dotting the county, commissioner Director Dave Gulden said.

Counties can use land banks to access state funding to purchase, demolish and redevelop abandoned and blighted properties.

Continue reading from the source.

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Posted in Land Bank Coverage

Glenville Scores Two Wins with One Project

Glenville Library Event

Library Project has Neighborhood and Environmental Impact

Cuyahoga Land Bank Key to Collaboration with Cleveland City Council, Cleveland Public Library, Ohio EPA, and Cleveland-Cuyahoga Port Authority

Community leaders, neighborhood residents and other stakeholders gathered yesterday in Glenville to celebrate a neighborhood victory and an environmental first for northeast Ohio. At first glance, it may look like a simple construction project at E.118 St. and St. Clair Avenue, but the Glenville Library additional parking lot boasts benefits beyond library convenience for neighborhood families. The project has the additional benefit of being the first commercial project to use cleaned-up Cuyahoga River sediments to fill the hole left by the demolition of the lots’ former building.

Nearly a year and a half ago, the Cuyahoga Land Bank entered into an unusual agreement with the Cleveland Public Library.  The Cuyahoga Land Bank acquired and demolished a tax-foreclosed dilapidated apartment building next to the Library that had been a neighborhood eyesore and safety issue for many years.  The Library in turn committed to financing much-needed improved parking for the Library.

The Cuyahoga Land Bank concentrates its efforts on strategically acquiring vacant and distressed properties and either demolishing them or returning them to productive use and reducing neighborhood blight.  These efforts are often in collaboration with neighborhood institutions such as libraries, recreation centers and other public facilities.

“These types of partnerships are the way we are re-building our communities,” said Gus Frangos, President and General Counsel for the Cuyahoga County Land Bank.  “It’s important not to limit ourselves.  Everyone wins when the community leadership comes together to find creative ways to overcome neighborhood issues.”

“We are excited about this project and what is means for our neighborhood residents,” said Kevin Conwell, Ward 9 City Councilman. “The safety of families is a priority and this project not only eliminated a problem property in our ward, but will allow our residents to safely and more easily access the resources of our wonderful Library.”

Making it even more unique, the Glenville Library Project will be the first commercial land bank application of recycled sediment from the CDF in downtown Cleveland. In 2015, after years of research, the Cleveland-Cuyahoga Port Authority pursued a system of harvesting and cleaning CDF river sediment – a mixture of organic material, silt, sand and gravel – and marketing it for beneficial uses such as composting, road construction and filling in basements of demolished houses. Its efforts have established Cleveland as a national model for innovative methods for managing these materials.  Sediments which arrive at the mouth of the river become environmentally unclean and require dredging. Cleaning and recycling sediments lessens the volume of sediments stored in the CDF.

The Cuyahoga Land Bank, working with the Ohio EPA, the Cleveland-Cuyahoga Port Authority and Kurtz Bros., Inc., saw the Glenville Library project as an opportunity to test out sediment reuse in a commercial setting.  Kurtz Bros., Inc. is the private vendor that performs the recycling procedure.

“We are excited about the impact the further use of recycled sediment can have on Cuyahoga Land Bank efforts in housing demolition – helping remove blight while positively effecting the environment,” said Frangos.

“The Glenville Library Project is the kind of creative solution that Ohio is looking for as we end the century-old practice of simply disposing of sediment into our Great Lake. Finding beneficial uses for this material means we are reusing valuable resources and protecting our precious water resources,” said Ohio EPA Director Craig W. Butler.

“The Port of Cleveland is proud to be a partner in this project. We hope this is just the first of many opportunities that the Port, the Cuyahoga Land Bank and Kurtz Bros. can put sustainable and useful sediment to work for the betterment of our community,” said Will Friedman, President and CEO, of the Port of Cleveland.

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Posted in Press Release

An unusual team effort to save a Glenville business center deserves a cheer (Plain Dealer)

By: Editorial Board, Plain Dealer

CHEERS . . . to the special team effort to save the nearly vacant ShoreBank Enterprise Center in Glenville before it implodes. The Cuyahoga Land Bank recently bought the property; new managers will handle the center; and four lenders agreed to forego more than a $1 million in real estate loans.  Let’s hope it works, for Glenville’s sake.

Continue reading from the source.

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Posted in Land Bank Coverage

Botkins agrees to join land bank (Sydney Daily News)

BOTKINS — During Tuesday night’s Botkins Village Council meeting, the village agreed to be a part of a county wide effort to take control of and clean up abandoned properties.

Shelby County Commissioner Bob Guillozet presented to council how this non-governmental agency plans to work, and asked the village of Botkins for a 50 cent-per-capita assessment, $577.50, to fund the corporation’s start-up.

Continue reading from the source

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Posted in Relevant News

Kester updates foundation on land bank (Portsmouth Daily News)

By: Wayne Allen, Portsmouth Daily News

Earlier this week, the Scioto Foundation held its annual meeting. At the meeting, Jason Kester, Executive Director of the Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA), updated those in attendance on the formation of the Scioto County Land Bank.

The Scioto Foundation and SOPA have worked together on several projects with the formation of the land bank the latest. In partnership with SOPA, the Scioto Foundation agreed to cover the start up costs for the land bank.

Continue reading from the source

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Posted in Relevant News

WM looks to reutilization program (Troy Daily News)

By: Cecelia Fox, Troy Daily News

WEST MILTON — Faced with a growing number of abandoned properties, the village of West Milton is taking the first steps to establish a land reutilization program.

Following in the city of Piqua’s footsteps, the West Milton Land Reutilization Program will be a tool that helps the village to reestablish abandoned properties, municipal manager Matt Kline explained.

Continue reading from the source.

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Posted in Relevant News

Land banks can offer pathway to homeownership: Matt Martin, Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership (Cleveland.com)

By Matt Martin, Trumbull County Partnership on Cleveland.com

Decades of disinvestment and job loss, suburban sprawl, and more recently the profound impacts of the foreclosure crisis have left Northeast Ohio with a glut of derelict vacant properties that litter our neighborhoods and diminish the quality of life for residents. These vacant houses are not just unsightly- they are havens for criminal activity and they destroy the property values of those around them.

Read more from the source.

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Posted in Relevant News

Cuyahoga Land Bank, with developers lined up, acquires ailing Glenville enterprise center (Plain Dealer)

By: Michelle Jarboe, Plain Dealer

In the 1990s, an industrial complex on Cleveland’s East Side started a new life as a home for fledgling businesses and a community lender lured here from Chicago.

Now that property, the former ShoreBank Enterprise Center, is half empty.

The bank that once anchored it failed in 2010, during a housing bust and recession that took down regional lenders and Wall Street titans alike. The enterprise center, at the northern tip of the city’s Glenville neighborhood, has been hemorrhaging cash. Repair bills – for the roof, the windows, and more – are piling up.

The property’s plight was so dire that, last year, its nonprofit landlord considered closing the doors. A shutdown would have put roughly 20 businesses, from a worker-owned laundry to a mail-order company that sells products made by monks and nuns, out on the street. Instead, a new owner stepped up in an unusual public-private real estate deal that caused short-term pain for a consortium of civic lenders but might beget long-term gains for Glenville.

On March 31, the Cuyahoga Land Bank acquired the enterprise center, a 150,000-square-foot, multi-building complex on East 105th Street just south of Interstate 90. And a private team, led by well-known local developer Fred Geis and broker-investor Rico Pietro, stepped in to manage, spruce up and lease the property.

 

Continue reading from the source.

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Posted in Land Bank Coverage

A Public-Private Partnership saves a Glenville community asset

The Cuyahoga Land Bank, Gies Companies – Cresco Real Estate join together to bolster the Shore Bank Enterprise Center

Facing financial difficulties in the aftermath of the Great Recession post-2008, the board of the Shore Bank Enterprise Center sought out the assistance of the Cuyahoga Land Bank late last year in an effort to prevent the need to shutter its building, which would displace more than 20 small business and non-profit tenants and add a vacant building to the city’s landscape. Through a partnership between the Cuyahoga Land Bank and Gies Companies–Cresco Real Estate, the Shore Bank Enterprise Center will be preserved and kept in productive use, with the building transferring ownership on March 31st.

The Shore Bank Enterprise Center, located at 540 E. 105th Street in Cleveland, has a long history of serving the Glenville community.  During the 1990’s, civic leaders and foundations collaborated to secure a community development bank that had a mission to provide financing for community development and neighborhood projects in Cleveland, Ohio.  These stakeholders, through investments in the building, successfully attracted Shore Bank, a community development lender from Chicago, which established its headquarters in what became known as the Shore Bank Enterprise Center.

The Center additionally became a creative incubator and continues to be the home for a number of small businesses and non-profits. Investment from the Gund Foundation, the Cleveland Foundation, the Greater Cleveland Partnership and the City of Cleveland boosted the Center into a vibrant venue not only for conventional tenants, but also non-profits such as the Evergreen Co-Op, which operates a non-profit laundry company servicing hospitals and other institutions as part of a workforce development program.

The Great Recession impacted the Center through the loss of several key tenants due to business closures starting in 2009. Most significantly, the largest anchor tenant, Shore Bank, dissolved, leaving the headquarters space empty.

By 2015, facing the prospect of prolonged operational shortfalls, the board was forced to consider closing the Center, which would displace all the tenants, including the Evergreen Laundry, and leave a large community asset in an unoccupied state.  Instead of closing, the board sought the assistance of the Cuyahoga Land Bank, which immediately began to seek a way to save the Center.

After several months of discussions between the Cuyahoga Land Bank and the community lenders, the lenders agreed to release their debt, if the Cuyahoga Land Bank would take title and find a professional and experienced manager. A group headed by Fred Geis agreed to take on that management role, considering the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s ownership and release of debt.

After two months of evaluation and continued discussions with all stakeholders, the Cuyahoga Land Bank and the Geis group agreed that the Cuyahoga Land Bank would take title to the Center, while the Geis partner would both manage the facility and be responsible for all capital and operational shortfalls in exchange for ownership in the Center within three years.

“This is an incredible example of cooperation with our community development partners, the City of Cleveland and a community-minded private developer” said Gus Frangos, President and General Counsel of the Cuyahoga Land Bank.

Immediate plans for the Center include nearly $1 million of investment for new tenant improvements and to enhance the building.  The vision is for the Center to prosper as a hub for creative non-profits and business start-ups.

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Posted in Press Release

Commissioners take first steps towards land bank (Portsmouth Daily Times)

By: Wayne Allen, Portsmouth Daily Times

Recently, the Scioto County Commissioners acted on a couple of measures aimed at improving the county.

First, the commissioners passed the first of two resolutions necessary to establish a Scioto County Land Bank. Then, the commissioners also announced the restructuring of the Scioto County Office of Economic Development. The office has been renamed the Scioto County Regional Planning Commission.

Leaders throughout Scioto County have been meeting and discussing the possibility of establishing a land bank in Scioto County. Leaders also discussed what advantages there are to a county land band and what funding would be available.

Continue reading from the source.

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Posted in Relevant News

Ohio City, Knez Homes team up to offer quicker new construction on Cleveland land-bank lots (Cleveland.com)

By: Michelle Jarboe, Cleveland.com

A homebuilding program set to launch next month in Ohio City aims to make new construction swifter and simpler for people hoping to live in one of Cleveland’s most popular neighborhoods.

Nonprofit neighborhood group Ohio City, Inc., and Knez Homes are teaming up to offer buyers ready-to-build lots where all the bureaucratic boxes have all been checked.

The partners have lined up 18 lots owned by the city’s land bank, in scattered locations outside of Ohio City’s core historic district, largely south of Lorain Avenue. Homebuyers participating in the program will pick from a menu of three facades and floor plans – all pre-approved by various review bodies at Cleveland City Hall.

Continue reading from the source.

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Posted in Relevant News

County land bank moves closer to reality (Sidney Daily News)

By Staff, Sidney Daily News

SIDNEY — The Shelby County Commissioner’s meeting room was crowded with representatives of townships, villages and the city of Sidney for the initial discussion of the steps necessary to create a county land bank. The meeting, scheduled by Shelby County Treasurer Linda Meininger, was held March 24.

Meininger introduced former Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis. Rokakis is currently the vice president of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy.

Continue reading from the source.

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Posted in Relevant News

Greater Cleveland Caucus

The Cleveland Foundation hosted the Greater Cleveland Caucus in March to discuss key issues impacting our region, brainstorm community priorities, and connect with organizations working to address community challenges. The Cuyahoga Land Bank joined the conference and participated to help address these challenges.  This was the first event of a year-long series to encourage community engagement among Greater Cleveland residents.  The Cleveland Foundation, The City Club of Cleveland, the Cleveland Young Professional Senate, Crain’s Cleveland Business, ideastream, and Neighborhood Connections are partnering to present these events.  The next caucus will be May 14th at The City Club of Cleveland further details here.

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Posted in 2016.3.1, Newsletter

New life for a Cleveland Heights lot

The Cuyahoga Land Bank recently acquired a house on Alpine Road next door to an undeveloped vacant lot. The lot was previously the site of dilapidated property that was razed some years ago. Buyer Frank Kuhar approached the Cuyahoga Land Bank with a strategy to renovate the property. The strategy will be to use the Universal Design Standard. This design wiLand Bank Staff ll allow the home to be accessible for all ages, needs or abilities. To reach Frank’s desired goal for this property, a garage was needed. Frank inquired about building on the vacant lot adjacent to the house.
Working with the City of Cleveland Heights, the Cuyahoga Land Bank was able to acquire the lot  where an attached garage will ultimately be built. Frank stated, “The Universal Design is meant to create a home where a person can age in place and grow with the property. This includes those with disabilities and handicaps.” The renovation will include larger spaces for entry, and the exterior will blend with the existing houses on the street. The property will be significantly improved and a once vacant lot can now become part of someone’s home again!

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Posted in 2016.3.1, Newsletter

Welcome to Westown

It’s not hard to attract new residents to Cleveland’s Westown neighborhood. Westown Community Development Corporation (WCDC) Executive Director, Rose Zitiello, confirms that “a tour usually convinces potential residents that the Westown neighborhood is a vibrant, historic and culturally diverse neighborhood featuring a wide range of housing choices, many on tree lined streets.” The Westown CDC service area has twenty-five thousand residents with three historic districts including the Lorain Land Bank Staff Station Historic District and residential streets north and south of it.  The two recreation centers and parks offer year round family activities that include a skating rink, water park, pool, picnic area and band gazebo.  Four retail banks and a savings and loan serve the area which is a good indication of the neighborhood’s economic strength. Locals and visitors alike love Lorain Avenue’s eight mile corridor of shopping, dining and history that links Cleveland Hopkins Airport to Downtown Cleveland and offers an eclectic mix of retro shops, imports, Irish pubs, restaurants and entertainment.
Over the past twenty two months, WCDC has facilitated, acquired and sold thirty eight formerly vacant and abandoned homes with the help of the Cuyahoga Land Bank.  In 2015, eight new families purchased homes and resettled in the Westown community from other states. According to Zitiello, the purchasers almost always bring their own sweat equity to the project. Entire families often pull their resources, talents and labor to complete the renovation on time and on budget.  The average cost to acquire and bring houses up to code is twenty-four thousand dollars.  Lenders typically will not underwrite traditional home loans.  Zitiello uses her prior executive experience, at the City of Cleveland and as a former bank relations manager, to structure purchase agreements that prioritize repairs and leverages purchaser’s credit to utilize non-traditional sources of financing.  Under Zitiello’s leadership, an attorney, and the leadership of Councilwoman Dona Brady, Westown is seeing a resurgence!

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Posted in 2016.3.1, Newsletter

Tree farms coming to vacant lots in St. Louis (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

By: Leah Thorsen, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Forty-two vacant lots in St. Louis will become tree farms, urban agriculture and green infrastructure projects through a partnership between the city and Chicago-based development firm Fresh Coast Capital.

Mayor Francis Slay hailed the news on Thursday, saying in a statement that such projects will turn empty lots from a liability that costs the city thousands of dollars a year to maintain into an asset.

The 42 lots make up about 3 acres of land, and all are in the city’s 22nd Ward in north St. Louis, around the area of Clara and St. Edward avenues.

Continue reading from the source.

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Posted in Relevant News

Habitat, partners launch initiative to rehab 100 abandoned houses in Cleveland (Cleveland.com)

By: Roxanne Washington, Cleveland.com

She and three of her four children were thrilled to be roaming around a two-story, four-bedroom home in Cleveland’s Buckeye neighborhood that will be theirs in a few months, once it has been completely rehabilitated by Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity.

“I’m very excited. I can hardly explain it,” Williams said.

But she was sad that her father wasn’t there to share the family’s joy.

Continue reading from the source.

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Posted in Land Bank Coverage

Habitat for Humanity launches Buckeye affordable homeownership initiative (Crains Cleveland Business)

By Lydia Coutre, Crains Cleveland Business

Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity is launching an initiative to rehabilitate 100 Cleveland homes in three years with a 10-house project in Cleveland’s Buckeye neighborhood.

A groundbreaking event will mark the launch at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 23, at 10010 Hulda Ave. The home at that address is the 15th in a partnership between Habitat for Humanity and Thrivent Financial, a multiyear partnership designed to involve Thrivent members and volunteers in helping provide a “hand up” to people in need of affordable housing by offering them a path to greater economic independence.

“We are excited about the potential of the Buckeye neighborhood,” said John Habat, Greater Cleveland Habitat’s president and CEO, in a statement. “The group of community partners and funders who have committed to working together is truly extraordinary and bodes very well for the community’s future.”

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Posted in Land Bank Coverage

Land bank, closer to reality (Portsmouth Daily Times)

By: Wayne Allen, Portsmouth Daily Times

An organizational meeting of what will be the Scioto County Land Bank Board of Directors was recently held.

At the meeting the urgency of forming a corporation, for which the land bank would operate, was stressed.

Recently the Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA) facilitated a meeting between officials from the city of Portsmouth, village of New Boston and Scioto County to talk about establishing a county land bank.

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Posted in Relevant News

House Urban Affairs Committee positions Caltagirone anti-blight bills for House vote (BCTV)

by House Urban Affairs Committee Chairman Thomas Caltagirone

HARRISBURG, March 15 – Democratic House Urban Affairs Committee Chairman Thomas Caltagirone, D-Berks, said Tuesday that the committee reported out two bills that he authored to rehabilitate blighted properties while fighting homelessness.

The bills are designed as companion pieces of legislation.

House Bill 1500 would expand the power of land banks to enter into partnerships with organizations in the private sector, to create local solutions to address the lack of housing for the homeless population in their communities.

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Posted in Relevant News

Cadillac Receives Grant to Fight Urban Blight (MINews26)

By MINews26

Several condemned buildings and another obsolete eyesore in Cadillac will be torn down with help from the Michigan Land Bank.

In October of last year the Michigan State Housing Development Authority made a $1 million grant to the Michigan Land Bank to continue efforts to demolish vacant and abandoned structures and promote public safety.  They opened up a round and applications and invited local governments to submit applications by early February.

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Posted in Relevant News

Council OKs community garden incentives (The San Diego Union-Tribune)

By David Garrick, The San Diego Union-Tribune

 — Aiming to boost access to healthy food while sprucing up blighted properties, the San Diego City Council unanimously approved a new community garden incentive program on Monday.

The incentive is expected to have the most significant effect in low-income neighborhoods, where there are often more blighted properties than businesses that sell fresh produce.

The program, which slashes property taxes on properties converted into community gardens, is possible thanks to a 2014 state law that aims to encourage urban farming and eating locally grown produce.

San Diego officials said they expect the incentive to increase the number of community gardens in San Diego beyond the roughly 30 now operating.

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Posted in Relevant News

LakewoodAlive Vacant lot Reuse

Lakewood Alive purchased this vacant lot from the Cuyahoga Land Bank and is happy to announce that the lot Land Bank Staff will be the future site of a house! Lakewood Alive is a non-profit community development organization that promotes economic development and improves the quality of life in Lakewood.  This is another example of a property being brought back to life!

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Posted in 2016.2.1, Newsletter

Six Thousand Acquisitions

In January 2016, the Cuyahoga Land Bank reached another mile stone by transacting its six thousandtLand Bank Staff h property. Currently in its sixth year of business, they continue to make strides to improve communities throughout the County by addressing and improving vacant and abandoned property.

Posted in 2016.2.1, Newsletter

Cuyahoga Land Bank

The mission of the Cuyahoga Land Bank is to strategically acquire properties, return them to productive use, reduce blight, increase property values, support community goals and improve the quality of life for county residents.

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