Mahoning Land Bank Projects Have $33M in Economic Impact

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Mahoning County Land Banks investment in demolishing abandoned homes and cleaning up vacant lots has returned $33.2 million in economic benefits over the past decade.

A report by Youngstown State University student Joshua Tye, advised by economics professors Ou Hu and Albert J. Sumell, found that for each dollar the land bank spent, its improvements returned between $1.43 and $1.50 in benefits.

“It’s important to understand that our work in collaboration with others to clean up neighborhoods delivers not only important aesthetic benefits but quantifiable, bottom-line economic benefits,” said Debora Flora, executive director of the Mahoning County Land Bank in a statement. “Reports like these help us make it clear that demolition, rehabilitation and greening are very good investments.”

But that number, added Mahoning County treasurer and Land Bank board chairman Daniel Yemma, understates the true impact as it doesn’t include “property taxes the community collects when these abandoned, run-down, tax-delinquent properties are restored to the tax rolls.”

Between 2009 and 2019, the land bank spent $14 million on housing demolition, which generated a return of more than $21 million and created the equivalent of 37 full-time jobs. The organization also spent $6.2 million on housing rehabilitation, which returned $8.9 million, and $2.2 million on greening projects, which returned $3.1 million.

The full report can be read HERE.

Pictured: Mahoning County Treasurer Dan Yemma and Land Bank Executive Director Debora Flora at a Land Bank-owned property at Mahoning and South Portland avenues on Youngstown’s west side. The Land Bank, along with the City of Youngstown and Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp., are repurposing this commercial property for pop-up farmers’ markets and other outdoor events.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.