December 9, 2011 [Stan Bullard, Crain’s Cleveland Business]
The Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corp., a nonprofit that handles revitalizing foreclosed properties, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that they have renewed for a second year their agreement for HUD to transfer certain properties to the county group.
Under the just-renewed pact, the Cuyahoga Land Bank, as it is more commonly known, pays HUD $100 for abandoned properties valued at less than $30,000 after HUD pays any current taxes on the property. The land bank then evaluates the properties, repairs homes deemed suitable for repairs and demolishes others.
Cheryl Walker, an official with HUD’s Philadelphia office, said in a news release that the partnership will help combat home price declines and stabilize neighborhoods hit hard by foreclosures.
Gus Frangos, president of Cuyahoga Land Bank, said the agreement has allowed the land bank to efficiently handle “some of the worst properties” and provide housing stabilization services countywide. The city of Cleveland already operates a similar program of its own.
So far, according to the land bank, it has bought 1,300 properties and demolished 562. Another 184 have been repaired or under repair by outside contractors. Another 370 vacant lots have been acquired and transferred to city land banks.
Frank Ford, senior vice president for research and development at Neighborhood Progress Inc. of Cleveland, said the land bank program is essentially in combating the blight from foreclosures.
“In order to preserve the value of the good apples in the basket, you have to remove and demolish the rotted apples,” Mr. Ford said in the land bank’s news release.