Transforming abondoned properties into parks, housing may get easier

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Transforming abondoned properties into parks, housing may get easier

October 21, 2009 [Dayton Daily News]

COLUMBUS — Montgomery County would get a new tool to transform vacant and abandoned properties left in the wake of the foreclosure crisis into parks, new housing or other uses under bipartisan legislation introduced in the Ohio House and Senate.

“I’m excited about this,” Dayton City Commissioner Nan Whaley said on Wednesday, Oct. 21.

The bills — House Bill 313 and Senate Bill 188 — would let Montgomery County and other counties with populations greater than 100,000 organize county land banks to acquire abandoned properties and make plans for reusing them.

Other Dayton-area counties that meet the population threshold include Warren, Clark, Greene, Butler and Miami.

State Rep. Roland Winburn, D-Harrison Twp., is a sponsor of the House bill.

Current state law authorizes only Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, to develop a land bank.

Montgomery County Treasurer Carolyn Rice, who has been pushing for the land bank authority, said “this is a long-term solution. This is not a silver bullet.”

In Cuyahoga County, the land bank can acquire foreclosed properties held by banks, government-sponsored entities such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, real estate lost to tax foreclosure and through donations.

The federal economic stimulus plan provided startup money for the land bank and other funds come from foundations and penalties and interest on delinquent property taxes, said Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis.