Side Lot Program Spruces Up The Neighborhoods

Like all of the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s efforts, the Side Lot program is a hit with the neighbors.
“People put a picnic table there or a big garden or they fence it in,” says Kimberly Steigerwald, Acquisitions Manager for the Cuyahoga Land Bank. “They always find a way to put it to good use.”
The process is straightforward: Once a house is demolished, a neighbor contacts the Cuyahoga Land Bank about purchasing the newly vacant lot. The prospective buyer is asked to fill out an application, available on the Cuyahoga Land Bank website.picnic_table
“Once we approve the application, we send it back to them with all the documents they need to sign, and they return them to us with their check for $100. We file the deed, and they own the lot-it’s a painless, quiet process.”
Selling side lots for $100 “puts the property back on the tax rolls,” Steigerwald says, because it’s then a taxable property-a plus for the city. “With a new owner to maintain the lot, it’s also good for the street, and, of course, good for the neighbors themselves.”
“It works for us [at the Cuyahoga Land Bank], too,” she adds. “We’re not holding onto those lots and having to maintain them.”
In 2011, the Side Lot Program’s first year, 19 lots were sold, mostly in Cleveland and Maple Heights, “but we could do 50 in 2012,” Steigerwald says.

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