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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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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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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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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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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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

A Lofty Idea

Kevin Malone Sr. worked as a construction contractor all of his life.  Working with his hands, he raised his family and sent them to college.  Kevin’s two sons, Kevin and Colin both graduated from college and entered the work force; one as a mechanical engineer and the other a sound engineer specialist.Land Bank Staff
As dad began to wind-down his career, his boys came to him and said, “Dad, we are getting tired of sitting in a cubical behind a computer trading time for money.  We want to get into the business with you!”  And so began a new partnership involving dad and his two sons who just completed their first “Loft Home” renovation in the St. Clair-Superior neighborhood.  “The house is simply beautiful. It is artful, it is quality and it isLand Bank Staff just plain cool,” said Cuyahoga Land Bank President Gus Frangos.
The single-family home was in the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s inventory slated for demolition.  Instead, the home will become a “quality rental product in the emerging St. Clair-Superior neighborhood” according to Real Estate Specialist Andrea Bruno of the St. Clair-Superior Neighborhood Development Corporation who helped recruit the Malones to the neighborhood.
The Cuyahoga Land Bank initiated “Loft Homes” as a pilot project to see if it could work.  While getting off to a rocky start with a prior contractor, the Malone Brothers have figured out how to turn these homes into quality lofted homes at an inexpensive price using recycled and existing quality materials from these older homes.  “Our business model is to create quality loft homes in a targeted area, rent to eligible tenants and create a market for future resales,” said Kevin Malone.  “I was about to ease up on my work schedule, but instead, I now have the joy of working eighty hours a week with my sons,” said Kevin Malone, Sr., the proud father.  “We are having a lot of fun doing this,” he added.
There are two other homes the Malone family will be completing in April or May.  The Cuyahoga Land Bank and the “Malone Maestros” have expanded the Loft Home pilot to include up to three more homes that were originally slated for the wrecking ball.

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Omaha Municipal Land Bank picks interim leader, starts lining up properties (Omaha.com)

 

By Chris Burbach, Omaha.com

The Omaha Municipal Land Bank Board named an interim executive director Monday and took a step toward its first acquisitions of vacant lots and rundown houses. The board voted to approve a contract with Marty Barnhart as interim executive director.

Barnhart is a former director of the Land Reutilization Commission, which resells properties that the county foreclosed on for unpaid taxes. He currently is director of Restored Hope, a nonprofit organization that provides safe housing to women and children who are in abusive situations.

The contract approved Monday would pay Barnhart up to $10,000 a month — $100 an hour for 100 hours of work — to lead the Municipal Land Bank. The contract would be for six months, but could be terminated sooner than that with 30 days’ notice.

The board may hire a permanent executive director sooner than expected, said Jamie Berglund, chairwoman of the Land Bank Board.

She said in the meeting Monday that the board already has a good pool of applicants for the permanent executive director position. She said Barnhart was not interested in the permanent position.

The board also voted Monday to purchase tax certificates on 79 pieces of property in north and South Omaha. Most of them are vacant lots. A few include condemned houses.

The properties’ owners are at least one year delinquent in paying property taxes on the real estate. The county sells tax certificates to investors for the amount of delinquent property taxes, plus interest and fees. The owners have three years to redeem the certificates and keep their properties by paying the delinquent taxes plus 14 percent interest.

If the owners don’t redeem the certificates then the investors may foreclose and take title to the properties.

Berglund submitted the list of 79 properties to the board. She said they all fit at least two of the state law’s criteria, such as being unoccupied; having no current utilities; having vermin, accumulated debris or uncut vegetation; and/or being out of compliance with orders of local housing officials.

It would cost the Land Bank about $70,000 to purchase the tax certificates on the 79 properties.

Most property owners eventually redeem the tax certificates. Douglas County Assessor/Register of Deeds Diane Battiato told the board that she would expect more than two-thirds of the owners of the 79 properties to redeem the certificates.

The Land Bank, created in 2014, could end up owning properties that aren’t thus claimed by their current owners. The Land Bank most likely would transfer the properties to nonprofit organizations that build or rehabilitate housing.

Habitat for Humanity, 75 North Revitalization Corp., Holy Name Housing Corp. and Rebuilding Together Omaha have expressed interest in some of the 79 properties, Berglund told the board. So has the City of Omaha, for potential city-led redevelopment.

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Richmond Heights Cleans Up Abandoned Gas Station

The new year started with a bang in Richmond Heights, as the wrecking ball finally fell on the abandoned Sunoco gas station at the intersection of Richmond and Chardon RoadsLand Bank Staff .  Years in the making, this demolition was a joint effort between the City of Richmond Heights, Cuyahoga County, US EPA, and the Cuyahoga Land Bank. “Through the collaborative hard work, planning and budgeting of each partner, we were able to demolish the structure that had come to symbolize decay in our city.  Now that the building is gone and the site is clean, the property has become a source of pride and hope for good things to come,” stated Christel Best, Richmond Heights Economic Development Director.
Vacant and abandoned for over a decade, the old gas station was a glaring eyesore at the entrance to the city.  Unseen environmental issues, including leaking underground storage tanks, were Land Bank Staff present at the property requiring remediation. Having no surviving owners, real estate taxes went unpaid for years resulting in a tax foreclosure against the property that later forfeited to the State of Ohio.
To accomplish the project, the city received a two hundred thousand dollar grant from the US EPA Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund and eighty thousand dollars from Cuyahoga County Demolition Program.  Cuyahoga County Councilwomen Sunny Simon commented, “This is an important project for Council District 11 as well as the entire County. Cleaning up this property has opened the door to future economic development and growth. I am dedicated to working with the City of Richmond Heights, the Cuyahoga Land Bank and Cuyahoga County to support such projects through the US EPA Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund.”
The Cuyahoga Land Bank agreed to doing and overseeing the demolition and clean-up of the property.  With the invaluable assistance of Karla Auker from US EPA and Janise Bayne from the Cuyahoga County Department of Development, the CuyahogLand Bank Staff a Land Bank navigated this project through a complex web of grant program requirements and state and federal regulations.
After the underground storage tanks were removed, the Cuyahoga Land Bank acquired title to the property and transferred it to the city.  Once final site finishes are complete and all the clean-up paperwork has been turned in, the city’s revitalization of this key location will begin.  The Mayor of Richmond Heights David Roche gladly stated, “The Cuyahoga Land Bank demonstrated effective leadership and management of the demolition and remediation project.  The completed project greatly enhances the potential for future development of the local business district.  This project was a successful team effort that now affords our community benefits that will last many years into the future.”

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City of Richmond Heights | Loft Homes – 2016.2.1

2.2.16

Posted in 2016.2.1, Newsletter

Program works to remove blighted properties in cities (Star Beacon)

By Mark Todd, Star Beacon

CONNEAUT — Bucking tradition, government officials gathered Monday morning in Conneaut to celebrate a building’s destruction, not construction.

The occasion was the demolition of a house at 316 Woodworth Road, the first in the city to be flattened this year with money secured in 2015 through the Ohio Housing Finance Authority’s Neighborhood Initiative Program. Work could commence soon on a second house, this one located on South Liberty Street, said Conneaut City Manager James Hockaday.

Members of the Ashtabula County Land Reutilization Corporation’s board of directors and other officials were on hand to watch a big power shovel punch a big hole in the rear of the two-story house. A similar ceremony took place in Ashtabula eight months ago to launch the $1.3 million program aimed at blighted properties in Ashtabula, Conneaut and Geneva.

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Officials gather to talk about land bank (Portsmouth Daily News)

By Wayne Allen, Portsmouth Daily News

Recently officials with 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.

The city of Portsmouth has established a similar program with the Land Reutilization Program (LRP). Officials are hopeful to take the successes of the LRP to a program county wide.

SOPA brought in officials with the Western Reserve Land Conservancy to discuss what efforts need to be made to establish a county land bank.

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Montgomery County awaits millions in funding to fight blight (Dayton Daily News)

By Nick Blizzard, Dayton Daily News

Montgomery County officials are waiting to hear how much of the $97.6 million Ohio is being allotted to fight blight will be available to area neighborhoods.

The amount may be finalized next week, but they expect it to be near the $5.9 million distributed locally in 2013, when the state was awarded about $60 million for a similar program, said Mike Grauwelman, executive director of the Montgomery County Land Reutilization Corp.

“I think it’s a fair indicator to look at that and have our expectations at that level — around that $6 million mark,” he said Friday after $2 billion in federal aid was announced.

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Butler County land bank may get extra money to demolish eyesores (Journal-News)

By Denise G. Callahan, Journal News

A new $97.6 million infusion of federal funding means more eyesores will be erased throughout Ohio and Butler County.

The Butler County Land Bank has already spent almost $7 million in federal, state and local funding to demolish about 600 unsightly structures in Middletown and Hamilton — the county’s two biggest cities.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said today that $97.6 million in federal Hardest Hit Funds — $2 billion worth for the entire country — will come home to Ohio.

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Posted in Land Bank Coverage

Ohio will get millions more to fight blight and foreclosures (Plain Dealer)

By Stephen Koff, Plain Dealer

WASHINGTON – The Treasury Department announced Friday that Ohio will get another $96.6 million to bulldoze decrepit houses and fight housing blight.

The state can apply for even more – up to $250 million – from Treasury. Money for the program, called the Hardest Hit Fund, will come from $2 billion in taxpayer funds approved by Congress in late December. That’s on top of the program’s initial $7.6 billion.

This will allow continuation of a program that has helped Ohio, Michigan, California and other states hit hard by last decade’s foreclosure crisis.

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Posted in Land Bank Coverage

City receives grant for master plan; request for Wooster/Shoreland turned down (Westlife)

By Sue Botos,

Rocky River

It was a case of good news, bad news last week as the city’s application for funds to develop a new master plan was accepted by the county. But a bid to fund a park at the corner of Shoreland Avenue and Wooster Road got a thumbs-down.

Mayor Pam Bobst told City Council at its Feb. 8 legislative session that the city has received a $60,000 grant from the Cuyahoga County Department of Development to update its master plan. The city applied for the funding in October to fulfill the city charter mandate calling for review of the plan every 10 years. The last master plan was approved in 2005.

“This is a guiding document that does not gather dust,” Bobst told West Life. “We refer to it a lot,” she added, remarking that the document is not only consulted by the city boards and commissions, but by outside interests, some of which may be interested in business opportunities. “It sends a message of how we view our future.”

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Posted in Land Bank Coverage

Land bank to eliminate Second Street eyesore (Newark Advocate)

By Ken Mallett, Newark Advocate

NEWARK - The city of Newark has found another tool to help remove or improve run-down properties, such as the burned out building on South Second Street, a one-time Elks Lodge.

The new Licking County Land Reutilization Corporation can help communities across the county acquire blighted commercial or residential properties and make long-needed improvements.

The corporation, or land bank, board met Thursday at the county administration building, discussing sites such as the former lodge at 87 S. Second St., a vacant lot across from Yesterday’s Pub at 53 S. Sixth St., the Albert Building on West Church Street in downtown, a vacant home at Country Club Drive and the Ohio 16 westbound exit ramp, and an abandoned Clark gas station at Mount Vernon Road and Deo Drive.

The South Second Street property, the land bank’s first project, is being acquired and will be demolished after bids are reviewed and a demolition contract awarded. The building burned in 2014 and has since sat vacant.

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Posted in Relevant News

Cuyahoga land bank and Purple Heart Homes Partner on Second Home

PHH_South_Euclid_Banner

 

Home closing ceremony for Marine Leo Robinson

Cuyahoga Land Bank and Purple Heart Homes partner on second home

 

WHO:            

Marine Veteran Leo Robinson

Robinson’s service dog Kota

Cuyahoga Land Bank

Purple Heart Homes

 

WHAT:             

A celebration in honor of Marine Veteran Leo Robinson as he signs the final closing documents for his new home, made possible through a collaboration between the Cuyahoga Land Bank and Purple Heart Homes.

Robinson will be  the second veteran to become a Purple Heart Homeowner in Cuyahoga County (and Northeast Ohio).

 

WHEN:

Thursday, February 18th at 1:30 pm

 

WHERE:

Cuyahoga Land Bank,

323 W. Lakeside Avenue, Suite 160

Cleveland, OH 44113

 

WHY:

The Cuyahoga Land Bank and Purple Heart Homes have formed a partnership to create affordable housing opportunities for disabled veterans.  The renovated homes are built out to meet the specific needs of the veteran.

This December, the City of South Euclid, the Cuyahoga Land Bank and Purple Heart Homes hosted a Mission Complete Celebration where over 100 volunteers, suppliers, and donors that made the renovation of the second Purple Heart Home possible had an opportunity to thank veteran Marine Leo Robinson for his service. Earlier that morning 30 local Marine Veterans and community leaders met at the home to raise the United States and  Marine Flags in a First Flag Raising Ceremony. The official closing documents signing on February 18 makes Leo the owner of record.

 

 

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Posted in Press Release, Uncategorized

Euclid nearing completion of first round of county demolition program projects (The News Herald)

 Euclid was one of two communities to receive the maximum $1 million in the first round of Cuyahoga County’s property demolition program.

With that funding, 31 structures have either been demolished or in the process of being demolished, said Jonathan Holody, Euclid planning and development director.

A majority of the structures that have been demolished are residential structures, but more of the funds have been used to tear down commercial buildings, Holody said.

Among the commercial structures demolished with funding from the county is the former Lakeshore Chevy on East 185th Street that has sat vacant since 2008.

The city now owns the 1.3-acre site and Holody said they will start marketing the property for development soon…..

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Posted in Land Bank Coverage

Registry Aims To Combat Urban Blight (KSEE 24)

 In an effort to combat the blight issues in Fresno, the city is now compiling a registry of vacant properties so it knows who to contact in case problems come up.

The City said the contact information will help address vandalism or repair issues much faster. It’s a new requirement for owners and property managers of buildings vacant for more than 30 days.

Mark Standriff, who is the City’s Director of Communications and Public Affairs said, “Last summer the City Council under the Mayor’s direction passed the ‘Vacant and Blighted Properties Ordinance’ which basically now starts to give us tools that we can build to make sure that we are not only addressing the issue of vacant and blighted homes around the area.”

The registry is located here on the City’s website. It’s free, and if owners/property managers don’t register, they may face a fine of $250 a month.

“It allows us to not only contact property owners immediately that gets us all the contact information to let them know that there are issues to the property or that there have been some complaints filed against it,” stated Standriff.

Fresno City Code Enforcement Supervisor Howard Lacey said the ordinance is meant to maintain the charm of older neighborhoods in Fresno.

Lacey said, “Well the best thing is for property owners to be very proactive with their properties and ultimately we want to get them all occupied. That’s the goal.”

Property owners must submit their information into the city’s vacant/blighted property registry by April.

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Posted in Relevant News

2015 Cuyahoga Land Bank Property Sales

In 2015, the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s internal renovations reached nearly one million dollars in total Land Bank Staff gross sales. The Deed-in-Escrow Program saw a nine percent increase in sales from the previous year!  Also in 2015, there was a forty-four percent increase in internal renovation sales from the prior year.  The Cuyahoga Land Bank is on pace to reach the record number of sales in 2016.

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Posted in 2016.1.1, Newsletter

2015 Information Technology and Research Department

In 2015, the Cuyahoga Land Bank increased collaboration with other county land banks to license their Property Profile System (PPS).  The web-based property management software system allows for land banks to manage operations, undertake analysis, program development and planning. This past year, the Cuyahoga Land Bank has started work to customize the PPS software for Hamilton County, Mahoning County, Summit County and South Suburban Land Bank and Development Authority, IL (South Chicago Suburbs). The software system will help each land bank increase their capacity and improve their daily functions.  For more information on PPS please visit pps.land.

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Posted in 2016.1.1, Newsletter

2015 Acquisition, Disposition & Development Highlights

The Cuyahoga Land Bank had another productive year in stabilizing communities and removing blight throughout the county.  In order to manage the large number of vacant and abandoned properties the Cuyahoga Land Bank demolition capacity continued to increase. The demolition department has completed over eight hundred blight-elimination demolitions per year since 2013.  Since the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s inception, the primary focus has been on residential property.  This past year, further collaboration with municipalities has led to the acquisition and demolition of several blighted commercial properties.  These demolition projects occurred with several partner communities including Shaker Heights, East Cleveland, Cleveland and Warrensville Heights.  The launch of the Cuyahoga County Demolition Fund Program in 2015 will allow for further targeted demolition of vacant and abandoned properties to improve our communities.

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Posted in 2016.1.1, 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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