3 Valley Land Banks Awarded $500,000 Each

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Housing Finance Agency has awarded grants of $500,000 to the land banks in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties, agency executive director Doug Garver announced Tuesday.

The housing finance agency broadened and extended Ohio’s program to deal with blight and “fight foreclosure,” Garver said, by awarding another $13 million to 12 counties so they could “prevent foreclosures and stabilize local property values through the demolition and greening of vacant and blighted houses across the state.”

The funding came through the fourth round of the Neighborhood Incentive Program.

The Cuyahoga County land bank in Cleveland received the biggest grant, $6.075 million, Lucas County’s in Toledo, the second largest, $2.3 million. All others, including the Mahoning County, Trumbull County and Columbiana County land banks, were awarded $500,000.

While the maximum that can be spent per property is $25,000, Garver said, the average amount of help is $12,000. To date, 1,200 blighted structures have been razed and 180 are pending as a result of the first three rounds of funding.

Matt Martin, executive director of Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, which administers the Trumbull County Land Reutilization Corp., said the funding could demolish another 30 to 50 properties in his county and return them to green space.

Along with the additional funds came an extension of the deadline to complete the work, to the summer of 2017 from the summer of 2016.

To date, the Trumbull County land bank has razed 108 properties, Martin said, and expects to demolish and restore to green space “more than 300 when all is said and done.”

The Trumbull land bank has been awarded $4.2 million in the first three rounds of Neighborhood Improvement Program funding and chosen “10 target areas in Warren and one in Girard,” Martin said. The additional $500,000 provides Trumbull Neighborhood Partners the flexibility to select more target areas.

Deb Flora, executive director of the Mahoning County Land Bank, said her program “has made a positive impact for residents. We are grateful for these additional resources, which will bolster our efforts to restore safety and confidence in our neighborhoods.”

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.