Land Bank Work in Campbell Yields Positive Results

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Since it began work in Campbell three years ago as part of the Ohio Housing Finance Agency’s Neighborhood Initiative Program, the Mahoning County Land Bank has leveraged more than $1.2 million in the city.

In that time, the organization has acquired more than 100 properties and completed 97 demolitions.

Much of the work focused on a 20-square-block area bordered by Tenney Avenue, Robinson Road and 12th and 16th streets. Within that neighborhood, the land bank demolished 34 houses, preserved six houses slated for demolition and installed a mini library and a community garden at the newly established Bright Avenue Park.

“It’s been a blessing for the city to be able to have that type of resource to come in and help us with this program,” said Campbell law director Brian Macala in a statement.

Added Dan Yemma, treasurer and chairman of the Mahoning County Land Bank: “The results achieved are an example of what can be accomplished throughout Mahoning County when leaders work together to leverage the land bank’s capabilities.”

Beyond the work in the focus neighborhood, the land bank cleaned and landscaped the properties where houses were demolished. 

According to the land bank, property values in Campbell have increased and the number of properties on the active tax role has increased. Campbell City Fire Chief Nicholas Hrelec said arson calls declined in the city as vacant houses were demolished.

“City leaders clearly defined the scope of our work, which enabled us to apply our resources. They also supported us in many ways as we worked to stabilize block after block,” said land bank Executive Director Debora Flora. “We hope that the results of our work in Campbell becomes a platform for future partnerships toward stronger, healthier communities throughout Mahoning County.”

Pictured: Debora Flora, executive director, Mahoning County Land Bank

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.