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[23 Feb 2009 | No Comment | ]

The Cleveland Diocese is planning to close 50 churches, leaving parishioners praying their spiritual home won’t be one of those that’s shuttered.
The diocese plans to close one-third of its churches. Most affected will be inner-city parishes in Cleveland, Akron and Elyria.
Membership in the catholic diocese reflects population patterns in Northeast Ohio and throughout the Rust Belt. Since 2006, the diocese’s membership has declined from 1 million to 800,000 and those that remain are more widely dispersed between the surrounding counties, The Plain Dealer reports.
“We’re just too big for the number of people that …

Editorial »

[21 Feb 2009 | No Comment | ]

Something about the auto bailout really rubs people the wrong way.
Even here in Cleveland, a stone’s throw from two major plants and a short distance from Detroit, mention of the auto bailout will not pass without grumbling. “We’re rewarding incompetence,” people say. Or “bankruptcy is the best option.”
I can understand the frustration of seeing your tax dollars funneled to enormous corporations with uncertain chances of survival. What I don’t understand is, where’s the outrage over AIG and CitiGroup?
Everyone knows that The Big Three have their problems. But at least we can’t …

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[20 Feb 2009 | No Comment | ]

Cuyahoga County, home of Cleveland, will take advantage of a land bank program modeled after the one operating in Flint, Mich.
The program, approved by the Ohio House Wednesday, will allow the county government to take control of areas of blight and abandonment.
Using the legal privileges provided to land banks, greater Flint’s Genesee County Land Bank has transferred vacant land to adjacent homeowners, developed long and short-term green spaces, and assembled land for new housing and commercial development.
Cuyahoga will be the first Ohio county to adopt a land bank program, but …

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[19 Feb 2009 | No Comment | ]

President Obama’s $75 billion Homeowner Stability Initiative will help foreclosure-wracked Buffalo, The Buffalo News reports.
The plan will offer lenders incentives to cut mortgage rates to 31 percent of monthly income in an attempt to head-off foreclosure among vulnerable homeowners.
Aaron Bartley of PUSH Buffalo, a group active in housing issues, says Obama’s strategy is “a long time in coming” and represents sure progress.
Like many Rust Belt cities, abandoned buildings have plagued Buffalo since before the start of the housing crisis. As estimated 12-18,000 homes are abandoned in the city. In some …

Real Estate »

[18 Feb 2009 | One Comment | ]

Forbes Magazine called Las Vegas America’s emptiest city, edging out No. 2 Detroit. The rating was based on volume of abandoned homes. Rental vacancy is 16.9 percent in Las Vegas and home vacancy is 4.7 percent. In Detroit, vacancy rates are 19.9 percent for rentals and 4 percent for homes.
Also on the list: Charlotte; Bakersfield, Ca.; Miami, Orlando, Phoenix, Dayton, Cincinnati, Atlanta.