Helping Keep School Kids Safe

Every once in a while, the Cuyahoga Land Bank gets to partner in a project that not only enhances a neighborhood, but keeps its residents safe as well.
Joseph Giuliano had just started his job as program manager with Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization (DSCDO) when a particularly troublesome property

Land Bank Staff landed on his desk. The property was an abandoned home on West 69th Street, owned by an absentee landlord.  Such cases are routine for the Cuyahoga Land Bank, but another factor complicated this project. The property sat across the street from a neighborhood elementary school.

It was a tempting, dangerous space for school kids to explore.  The vacant property was attractive to draw drug dealers and other criminal activity, besides being a safety and health hazard for the community.
“We felt an urgency to move forward,” Giuliano says. The owner was willing to donate his property so that it could be demolished—but first, multiple outstanding liens had to be removed for clean title.”
“Red tape stalled the project for three years and built up the accumulating of delinquent taxes,” he explained.  But finally, all of the liens were released and the Cuyahoga Land Bank was able to accept the property and create clean and marketable title for the property.
It didn’t take long for DSCDO to find an owner-occupant to buy the property. “The buyer had a background in home construction,” Giuliano says. The property will put the buyer’s skills to work considering the large renovation specification list that he has to tackle to bring the property back to code.
But the project has a happy ending. The new owner is working with DSCDO to ensure his restoration is done correctly. His sister already has purchased the house next door, and he’s looking to invest and rehabilitate more homes in the neighborhood.
“We were fortunate to find this buyer,” Giuliano says. “And it feels real good to wrap this project up, knowing the property is now in good hands!”
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