The Cuyahoga Land Bank Celebrates Five Years!

Cuyahoga Land Bank News

The Cuyahoga Land Bank Celebrates Five Years!

Land Bank Staff

 It was June 1, 2009 when a group of eight newly hired Land Bank staff sat in a semi-circle in the unfurnished new office space of the Cuyahoga Land Bank at 323 West Lakeside Avenue.  “You are the A-Team.  You are the pioneers,” said Cuyahoga Land Bank President and General Counsel Gus Frangos to his new staff at the Cuyahoga Land Bank.  This was to be an incredible experiment with a newly formed type of corporation with newly enacted statutory tools to address vacant, blighted and abandoned properties, and to work to stabilize the County’s residential tax base. Over 900 renovations later, 4,500 property acquisitions and 2,600 demolitions of blighted properties throughout the County, the Cuyahoga Land Bank has exceeded all expectations.  So much so, that it is viewed as the national model of land banking.
Concluding its fifth year in existence, the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s achievements and collaborations were recently published in its report entitled “
A Successful Stabilization Response for the Present, A Strategic Redevelopment Catalyst for the Future.”
The Cuyahoga Land Bank has worked with and assisted nearly every municipality within the County helping to make properties productive.  Additionally, the Cuyahoga Land Bank works with every major community development corporation throughout the County as well as numerous human services agencies ranging from veterans, refugees, transitional housing organizations to work force development, re-entry and disabilities organizations.
“What makes the Land Bank special is its highly skilled and professional staff,” said Bill Whitney, who was the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s Chief Operating Officer from the very start.  “It is also a great environment to work at. Our staff is highly motivated and takes ownership of the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s mission.”
Currently the Cuyahoga Land Bank employees administer the acquisition, maintenance and disposition of thousands of properties. “They took the mission of this new enterprise, became creative and made it into an exceptional example of efficient and effective community development,” said Frangos, referring to his original and now expanded staff.
Gina Johnson, one of the Land Bank’s originals, remembers that first day on the job.  “I remember being told that we were to be the ‘A-Team’ and we took that very seriously and we became the A-Team.  I am very proud to work with so many professional and friendly peers at the Cuyahoga Land Bank,”  said Johnson.
In the five years since opening up shop, the Cuyahoga Land Bank has become a leader in research, policy and legislative initiatives that have advanced land banking practice, tax foreclosure and land stabilization throughout the State of Ohio.  The Cuyahoga Land Bank’s directors are frequent speakers and panelists at national conventions and conferences dealing with land re-use and community development.

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