We are often asked about the day-to-day work of the Cuyahoga Land Bank from curious residents and community leaders. In this first of an ongoing Behind the Scenes series, we take a look at the extensive field servicing work that goes into maintaining the many properties in the Cuyahoga Land Bank inventory. Dennis Roberts, Director of Programs and Property Management, sat down to answer six of our pressing questions:
What is Field Servicing and what does it entail? Field servicing, in short, is the process of stabilizing a distressed, abandoned property. This normally includes performing interior and exterior inspections, boarding up windows, making sure all utilities are turned off, cutting grass and removing unwanted debris.
How many properties does the Cuyahoga Land Bank “service”? We service about 3,000 properties each year.
How many crews does it take to do all of the field servicing? The Cuyahoga Land Bank contracts with six field service teams that perform the lawn maintenance, utility disconnects, and window board-ups. We also have an additional four crews that strictly perform property clean outs.
How much does it cost annually to upkeep so many properties? Our budget is about $1.8 million just for the servicing of these properties. It is important to maintain these properties for the safety of the surrounding neighbors until a property can be renovated, sold or demolished.
What is the most interesting item your team has found during field servicing? A field service worker once found money from the 1800s with a picture of Napoleon Bonaparte on it. We also found two original “Purple Hearts” signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt that were issued to two brothers killed in World War II. We were able to locate the great grandchildren and return these lost documents to the family.
What is the strangest item your team has found during field servicing? We’ve had our share of unpleasant finds that I won’t go into here, but one of the stranger things we came across was an entire room filled from floor to ceiling with old-school phone books.