“Land bank fever” is spreading across Ohio, thanks to the leadership of the Cuyahoga Land Bank. Now, the new mayors of Lorain County’s two largest cities – Lorain and Elyria – have formed plans for their own countywide land bank. The Lorain County Commissioners approved the concept this month.
Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer is eager to see a land bank launched in Lorain County-easy to understand, with more than 6 percent of the properties in his own city foreclosed, abandoned or otherwise contributing to blight. When the Lorain land bank starts up, it will join those already operating (or nearly ready) in Cuyahoga, Montgomery, Lucas, Trumbull, Warren, Mahoning, Hamilton, Summit, Stark, Lake and Erie Counties, and officials in Butler and Allen Counties are examining the possibilities.
“I really look at it as a valuable tool in battling what remains of the housing crisis,” Ritenauer says. “[Deteriorated housing] is really an epidemic.”
Funding for the Lorain County Land Bank will come from a variety of sources. “We’ll look at memos of understanding (MOUs) with lending agencies and other funding sources, and see how we fit into their budgets,” Ritenauer says.