Stark County Land Bank Poised For Start-Up

About 17,000 properties in Stark County are draining community resources, but Stark County Treasurer Alexander Zumbar is determined to see them productive again.
Zumbar leads the land bank initiative in Stark County, and the effort is supported by the county’s commissioners and the Stark Community Foundation, which donated $7,500 to help get the land bank on its feet. Future funding will come from grants, delinquent taxes and possibly federal monies.stark_roadsign
“Perhaps the land bank will stop some of the devaluation of parcels,” Zumbar says. An expedited tax foreclosure process will allow direct transfer of delinquent properties to the land bank and provide partial funding for demolition. “It’s being viewed as an additional tool in our efforts to address blight in the county. A land bank will allow an orderly redevelopment of communities.”
Zumbar is quick to point out, however, that not all distressed or foreclosed properties will be acquired by the land bank. “We have to be thoughtful in our approach and not accept every parcel,” he says. “We will stick to a strategy. It will take a concerted approach by the Board of Directors to chart a direction. We’ll need to look at each property and assess whether accepting it into the land bank will stop blight from advancing in that particular neighborhood.”
The three largest cities in Stark County are Canton, Massillon and Alliance. All include neighborhoods that need the land bank’s involvement to address blight. However, Zumbar says, decay isn’t just an urban problem. Townships and villages throughout Stark County are affected as well.

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