One would think that demolishing more than 375 vacant and blighted houses during winter would be a “busy” time for the staff at the Cuyahoga Land Bank, and you’d be right. Springtime brings about a new challenge in making sure those vacant lots are clear of debris, and the proper planting of grass takes place.
“Spring Frenzy” is a one-week concentrated effort by the Acquisitions, Dispositions and Development team to verify the necessary “greening” of the properties in late April or May. Team members divvy up all the properties, inspect them, take photos and prepare a checklist of needed maintenance for the demolition contractors, who are responsible for the work within a 30-day time frame.
“When contractors demolish a house during the winter months, they are responsible for filling in the remaining hole with clean fill and putting down straw,” says Deidre Lightning-Whitted, Demolition Inspector for the Cuyahoga Land Bank. “When weather permits, the contractors must rake out the straw, apply top soil, grade the site to ensure proper drainage, and plant grass seed and straw.”
“A contractor does not fully get paid until all the work is done,” says Lightning-Whitted. “After 30 days, we go back out to the properties to make sure all the work is done to specifications.”
By removing troubled properties and returning the land to productive use, the Cuyahoga Land Bank seeks to stem the decline in home values, prevent future foreclosures for existing homeowners and beautify neighborhoods. Vacant lots remaining after demolition are available for sale to neighboring residents for a discounted price through the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s Side Yard program.