October 15, 2014 [Ideastream]
The proposal came from County Executive Ed Fitzgerald last February with few details on how the 50 million would be allocated. Council has since filled in the details.
$9 million – $3 million each year for three years – will go to the county land bank, which owns many abondoned properties. The remaining money will be available to cities throughout the county that can demonstrate the need. Funding awards will be capped at $1 million, but once a city has used up its allocation it can reapply for additional money.
Tony Brancatelli is a Cleveland city councilman whose ward includes Slavic Village, a neighborhood filled with abandoned homes that have been stripped bare of usable or sellable materials. He says he expects the bulk of the money for cities to go to Cleveland and inner ring suburbs that were also hit hard by the foreclosure crisis.
He says the sooner the funds are deployed, the better.
“I hope this can move forward very quickly,” he said. “This fall can be a good demolition season so this spring we could start seeing grass grow on some of these vacant lots and start putting them back into productive use.”
The federal government has already funded demolitions through its Hardest Hit grants, as has the state and the city of Cleveland. Brancatelli and others say additional funding from the county would be a significant boost.