The Erie County Land Reutilization Corporation (or Land Bank) is a community improvement corporation whose purpose is to promote and facilitate the reclamation, rehabilitation and reutilization of vacant, abandoned, tax-foreclosed or other real property in Erie County.
By strategically acquiring properties and returning them to productive use, the Land Bank works to reduce blight, increase property values, strengthen neighborhoods, and improve the quality of life for all Erie County residents.
The Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) announced it has received approval from the U.S. Department of the Treasury to utilize up to $60 million of remaining Hardest Hit Funds (HHF) to assist with stabilizing local property values through the demolition of vacant homes across the state.
The Neighborhood Initiative Program (NIP) is designed to stem the decline in home values and prevent future foreclosures of existing homeowners in communities affected negatively by vacant and abandoned properties.
“Vacant and abandoned properties are depressing home values and weakening efforts to revitalize communities across Ohio,” said Tim Massad, Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability. “That is why Treasury is pleased to help Ohio utilize the Hardest Hit Fund to address neighborhood blight and thereby prevent foreclosures and strengthen the housing recovery.”
OHFA will utilize up to $60 million of the state’s $270 million remaining uncommitted foreclosure prevention funds. The Agency was allocated $570.4 million from U.S. Treasury’s HHF to administer the state’s foreclosure prevention program, Save the Dream Ohio in 2010.
“Vacant homes, which are not maintained, put a neighborhood at risk,” said David Goodman, Director of the Ohio Development Services Agency and OHFA Board Chairman. “By taking them down, the value of the other homes is protected and the neighborhood is safer.” NIP will be available to up to 16 Ohio counties that have an established land bank. OHFA will develop and issue a Request for Proposals from the state’s land banks in future months.
Applicants will be responsible for all aspects of the property acquisition and removal as well as plans for greening and ongoing maintenance of the property. The maximum amount of assistance per property is $25,000 with an estimated average amount of assistance of $12,000. Therefore, it is estimated that nearly 5,000 vacant and abandoned homes will be demolished statewide through NIP.
The program is expected to begin in early 2014 and conclude by December 2015.
Land Bank Assisting Vermilion in Property Acquisition
The Erie County Land Bank acquired the former Fulper Auto Parts property in downtown Vermilion. The half-acre vacant parcel, located at the corner of Liberty Avenue and Grand Street, has been transferred to City ownership. The City will now seek grant funding to remediate contaminated soil around previously removed underground storage tanks (UST’s). Once the cleanup is complete the city will have a redevelopment-ready site in the heart of their downtown.
Moving Ohio Forward Demolition Program:
Progress continues with the Ohio Attorney General’s Moving Ohio Forward demolition program. 25 Properties from the City of Sandusky, City of Huron, Perkins Township, Vermilion Township and Oxford Township are included in the preliminary round of the program. All properties have completed their asbestos abatement work and all demolitions should be completed by the end of September. It is estimated that there will be enough grant money available after the initial 25 demolitions, to potentially include eight to ten additional properties in the program prior to the December 31, 2013 deadline.
Moving Ohio Forward Funding Aids Downtown Huron Redevelopment
The Erie County Land Bank is assisting the City of Huron with their redevelopment efforts in downtown Huron. The mixed-use property, located at the corner of Cleveland Road and Main Street, was demolished by the Land Bank as part of the Moving Ohio Forward Program. In partnership with the County Land Bank, the city has removed a blighted property in their downtown and created highly desirable redevelopment opportunity.
For information about the Moving Ohio Forward Demolition Program or the Erie County Land Bank, contact Land Bank Executive Director Scott Schell at 419-624-6894 or firstname.lastname@example.org