Ohio Governor Ted Strickland yesterday signed legislation that will make it easier for cities to take control of vacant and abandoned properties.
The land bank legislation was championed by Cuyahoga County officials and urban policy advocates alike. It will allow county governments to establish land banks to clear the title to foreclosed homes and begin the process of returning the property to productive use.
Many Ohio Cities have long operated their own land banks. However, without a strong legal framework, local efforts have been challenging.
The state law is modeled after a program recently adopted in Cuyahoga County, which is home to Cleveland. Cuyahoga’s land bank, in turn, was modeled after Genesee County’s, home to Flint, Michigan.
Here’s a Toledo Blade story if you want more details.
Great article in the Plain Dealer about the city East Cleveland–Ohio’s poorest city–its new mayor, and the seemingly impossible task of turning it around.
Gary Norton is young (37) and well educated (he attended Morehouse College in Atlanta and earned his master’s degree in public administration at Cleveland State University’s Levin College of Urban Affairs). And that’s a big change in a city that has been characterized by political mismanagement and corruption. Former Mayor Emmanuel Onunwor was convicted on bribery charges in 2004.
Norton’s election has injected fresh hope in the largely black, inner-ring suburb of Cleveland, which has lost more than 1,500 homes to foreclosure in the past two years–about 500 per mile, the highest in the state.
East Cleveland was once the home of Cleveland’s industrial titans, including John Rockefeller, but many of the breathtaking mansions have been overtaken by weeds and vandals.
Norton’s hoping to leverage the city’s location near the Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University to attract some new development. He also has $2.2 million in federal stimulus dollars to attack blight.
On the other hand, the city has a failing school system, a 35 percent poverty rate and the lowest educational attainment stats in Greater Cleveland. Truly, and I’m editorializing here, the challenges in this city cannot be overstated.
I visited this city shortly after moving to Cleveland last year and I was shocked.
But redevelopment officials are encouraged by Norton’s cooperative attitude, according to the article. His leadership helped the city secure a $20 million expansion of Huron Hospital, a Cleveland Clinic satellite, and the city recently began a partnership with the county landbank.
Since meeting with approval from the Ohio General Assembly in December, the new Cuyahoga County Landbank has spurred some creative rethinking for landuse in Cleveland.
Among the proposals: Continue reading