Demolition and Vacant Lot Reuse


While Cuyahoga County was hit hard by the foreclosure crisis that started in 2006, swift and decisive action has put us on a strong path to recovery and has afforded us the opportunity to reimagine our community. An aggressive demolition policy is an essential foundation for our future. The Cuyahoga Land Bank is authorized to accelerate the acquisition and demolition of abandoned nuisance properties to help speed that recovery and reimaging. The removal of nuisance properties through demolition increases public safety, appearance and property values in neighborhoods and clears the path for new development.

The Cuyahoga Land Bank identifies properties for demolition based on physical condition, local input and other criteria. The Land Bank also seeks out partnerships with deed holders such as Fannie Mae, Bank of America and Wells Fargo that allow the Land Bank to increase the number of total nuisance properties demolished in any given year.

Demolition policies and activities are structured carefully in accordance with the wishes of each municipality. Vacant properties that are left after the structures have been demolished are either held for future development, transferred to the respective municipality, cleaned and greened, or converted to other productive uses consistent with local priorities.

Demolition contractors working with the Land Bank are required to be properly licensed and to obtain appropriate permits.

Deconstruction: more than your average demolition

By deconstructing viable structures slated for demolition, the Cuyahoga Land Bank maximizes the re-use and recycling potential of materials within those buildings. The Cuyahoga Land Bank seeks experienced deconstruction and recycling partners. A portion of its demolition inventory will be held specifically for deconstruction.

Re-use is important for several reasons, including reducing the amount of material that burdens conventional repositories of demolition material, cutting the community's waste export costs, providing low cost materials to people in need and reducing gases emitted from landfills that may contribute to climate change. The Land Bank seeks to work creatively and economically with deconstruction contractors in a way that maximizes neighborhood planning, jobs and workforce development.

Vacant Lot Reuse

Clean, Green and Beautiful

The Cuyahoga Land Bank supports the efforts of innovative community groups and organizations to clean, maintain and beautify Land Bank owned properties. Just like you, our desire is to beautify neighborhoods and build camaraderie among neighbors. Programs conform to local city policy and may not be available in all communities. If you are interested in embarking on a beautification project for a Land Bank owned property, contact us or your local city government.

Could that vacant side yard next door be part of your yard?

Cuyahoga County homeowners with a Cuyahoga Land Bank-owned vacant land adjacent to the right or left of their home may have the opportunity to purchase that property as a side yard for a nominal cost. It is the Land Bank’s intention to merge such land bank parcels with adjacent owner parcels so that the property owner's land value is enhanced and such vacant lots are restored to the tax rolls. Programs conform to local city policy and may not be available in all communities or with all lots. If you have a Land Bank owned lot next door that you would like to purchase, visit our Side Yard Program page.

Urban Agriculture and Community Gardening

Urban agriculture, more commonly known as urban gardening, includes the growing of both plants and forestry in and around cities. Urban gardening attempts to integrate these activities into the urban economic and ecological system, which includes getting urban residents involved in working the gardens.

The Cuyahoga Land Bank partners with local governments as well as public and private sector organizations to use the Land Bank inventory to support urban gardening where practical. We also assist community groups that want to develop and maintain gardens in targeted areas. These gardens can be a part of a broader water retention or beautification initiative, or a food distribution network and food from the gardens has the potential to be sold in one of Cuyahoga County’s numerous Farmer’s Markets. On the near west side of Cleveland, we also make Land Bank owned lots available for urban gardeners to recycle plants and yard accessories. Our gardening programs conform to local city policy and may not be available in all communities. If you are interested in embarking on an urban gardening project for a Land Bank owned property, contact us or your local city government.

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