News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

SummaCare

Akron General

Akron Children's Hospital


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Ohio


Movement to bank land builds throughout northeast Ohio
Supporters say they fight blight, crime and decay
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE
and ANNA STAVER


Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
 
In The Region:

Summit County’s council is considering tonight (Monday) creating a land bank to help reduce the number of abandoned properties. It’s part of a growing trend across the state that started two years ago with Cuyahoga County. WSKU’s M.L. Schultze reports that Stark, Erie and Trumbull counties also are all beginning work on their own banks.

SCHULTZE land bank development

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (2:54)


Land banks operate like a non-profit organization except they’re run by county governments. They buy vacant properties with the help of a pool of delinquent taxes, then sell or demolish the buildings. 

Former Cuyahoga County TreasurerJim Rokakis helped draft the 2009 Ohio law allowing for land banks and now runs the Western Reserve’s Land Conservancy’s Thriving Communities Institute.

 “These are tough times and land banks allow us to take control of this kind of wild-wild west that is being created by property flippers and … speculators.” 

Rokakis says land banks face two challenges. One is what he calls an embarrassment of riches. There are more abandoned properties in counties than they can afford to buy. The second issue is paying for demolition. 

”There are at least 75,000 structures by our count in this state that need to be demolished. They’ve been vandalized, they’ve been gutted; they are functionally obsolete. There is no hope that anybody’s going to move into them. We have to move to take them down because they are really damaging the value of properties around them.” 

Rokakis estimates that nearly one third of those abandoned properties are in Northeast Ohio. In Cuyahoga County, Fannie Mae, Wells Fargo and the Bank of America have all donated dozens of homes to the land bank. The three have also included checks to help cover the cost of demolishing the properties. 

Peter Elliot is the U.S. marshal for northern Ohio and he says vacant buildings pose more than a financial threat. 

ELLIOT (0:13): “It’s a law enforcement problem, and it’s a safety issue. And when you have vacant houses out there and items being stored such as drugs and guns, and fugitives hiding out in vacant houses, it’s a serious problem for the whole community.” 

Elliot says those concerns about crime are one realson to support land banks. And Rokakis and the Thriving Communities organization are using both the financial and public safety arguments to sell counties on land banks.

 They’re finding some receptive audiences.

 Stark County Treasurer Alex Zumbar has been working on a proposal since June.  He says one way he hopes a land bank can help is to buy  properties with years of tax liens against them. 

“We’ve got properties that are on our delinquent list dating well back into the 40s. And … unfortunately, we aren’t getting anybody to be interested in buying them because those taxes are far exceeding fair market value of the land and the buildings on them. And as a result they just keep accumulating those taxes, interest and penalties, and no one is going to buy those.” 

Stark County commissioners will meet this week to discuss Zumbar’s proposal for a land bank. He hopes Stark County will have one operating sometime next year.

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Ohio's new drilling rules rely on known earthquake faults
requiring drillers to place seismic monitors when they drill within 3 miles of known fault lines. This comment really upsets me!! What good does an instrument t...

Kasich's gubernatorial ad focuses on his blue-collar roots
John Kasich is the biggest con-man in America. He will say one thing and then do the opposite. He is terribly successful at fooling the public and he is worki...

Cab drivers who refuse to drive Gay Games taxis will be replaced
the irony is that most americans distrust or hate muslims much more than they hate gays!! silly ignorant bigots-GO HOME!!!

New transportation companies come to Cleveland
Ride-sharing companies are breaking laws and regulations every day. From regulatory fee evasion to use of smartphone while driving (and even two smartphones(!) ...

Cleveland anti-poverty agency executive resigns amid financial probe
That committee won't be too independent. He plans to stay on until after the new appointee is chosen.

How can you wipe a criminal record clean?
Great article! NO CLINIC in May 2014, however, because it's graduation month for students For the next dates of the FREE Legal Clinic to help with Expungment,...

Drilling remains suspended while ODNR investigates NE Ohio earthquakes
Flaring and lights, so has all been halted? Also, smell of HS2 and sounds of an auger/drilling/water rushing underground. So, has all been halted? In light of t...

Will the Ohio River carry fracking wastewater?
Texas $ vs. WV citizens . Who will our governor listen to?

McKinley museum launches campaign to buy 'pawned' heirloom
Was the tiara sold or pawned? What is the name of the person who brought the tiara to the Gold

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University