An update of the happenings at Cuyahoga Land Bank
Finding New Life as Greenspace | A Salute to Bill Whitney | Become an IMPACT! Event Sponsor | Another Major Milestone

Cleaning Up: Former Gas Station Site to Find New Life as Greenspace

Old abandoned gas stations dotting the corners of our cities can be eyesores and blight communities. Cities struggle with what to do about polluted, abandoned gas stations and other petroleum-contaminated properties, commonly called petroleum brownfields.  Here’s a look at how the Cuyahoga Land Bank helped the City of Cleveland transform an abandoned gas station rife with contamination into a sustainable green space.

July 2015 – The Cuyahoga Land Bank acquired via tax foreclosure a long-shuttered gas station on the corner of E. 105th and Ashbury in Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood. The parcel was among those being assembled for the extraordinary Greater Cleveland Fisher House project, a “home away from home” for families of patients receiving medical care at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center and other area medical centers to be built across the street from the site.

September 2016 – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded a $200,000 Petroleum Assessment Grant to the Cuyahoga Land Bank.

The Cuyahoga Land Bank conducted Phase I (November 2016) and Phase II (First Quarter 2017) assessments on the property to determine the extent of contamination at the site using a small portion ($19,500) of the EPA grant. The studies found four underground storage tanks, contaminated soils, and asbestos in the small building.

October 2017 – With assessments in hand, the Cuyahoga Land Bank applied for funding for the site’s cleanup from the State of Ohio’s Development Services Agency’s (ODSA) newly created Abandoned Gas Station Clean Up Grant Program.

December 2017 – The Cuyahoga Land Bank was awarded nearly $100,000 in funding from OSDA’s Abandoned Gas Station Cleanup Grant, which was used for the removal of the tanks, remediation of the soils at the site, and further testing and assessment.
June 2018 – Using its own operating funds, the Cuyahoga Land Bank demolished the gas station structure and cleared the site including contaminated soils.  Remediation and testing continued through the fall 2018.

December 2018 – The Cuyahoga Land Bank received a No Further Action (NFA) Letter from Ohio’s Bureau of Underground Storage Tank Removal (BUSTR), proclaiming the site as “clean.”

January 2019 – The cleaned parcel was transferred and is currently being developed by the City of Cleveland as a public plaza/greenspace as an enhancement to the Finch Group’s new Glenville CircleNorth mixed-use development project which includes 63 market-rate apartments.

“This project pulled together funding from federal, state and local agencies to enhance two fabulous projects and put an abandoned, environmentally contaminated site back into productive use,” says Kim Steigerwald, Acquisitions Manager at the Cuyahoga Land Bank.

Click HERE for additional photos of the project.

A Salute to Bill Whitney

Bill Whitney, who retired as Chief Operating Officer of the Cuyahoga Land Bank in July, doesn’t have any plans to slow down now that the busy days of community and economic development are behind him. “I’ve always loved spending time with family and traveling, and now I can do much more of that,” says Whitney. “My wife Sandy is also an avid gardener, and I’ve been offering her a lot of moral support,” he says with a laugh.
Whitney was part of the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s original leadership team, and together skillfully helped navigate the Cuyahoga Land Bank through the waters of its first 10 years. Whitney worked in the community development field in Ohio for 40 years. Armed with a master’s degree in Urban Planning from the University Wisconsin, the Milwaukee native served as the Ohio Assistant Deputy Director for Community Development, Director of the successful Detroit Shoreway Development Corporation, and as the Cleveland area Director of Enterprise Community Partners before joining the Cuyahoga Land Bank. “The opportunity at the Cuyahoga Land Bank came along at the perfect time in my career,” he says.
Among the halls of the Cuyahoga Land Bank, Whitney’s colleagues cite his extensive institutional knowledge and expertise in housing acquisitions, dispositions, and federal regulatory practices as just a few of the qualities that made his time so successful at the Cuyahoga Land Bank.
“Bill is a long-time and well-respected leader in the community development movement,” says Kim Kimlin, former Cuyahoga Land Bank Director of Community Stabilization who succeeded Whitney as COO. “He has been valued as a results-oriented collaborator by his peers, and it was a particular honor for me to come to work for him here at the Cuyahoga Land Bank. Bill’s deep experience and masterful guidance in designing and leading this organization as COO for 10 years contributed immensely towards the Land Bank’s success.”

Whitney was brought in as COO by Cuyahoga Land Bank President Gus Frangos who developed the legislation allowing for the creation of the land bank. “Getting started was the biggest challenge,” says Whitney. “The housing market was a mess, and we were in unchartered waters, but we knew if we got it right, we could have a huge impact on the community.”
“Selecting Bill as COO of the Cuyahoga Land Bank was an easy decision,” says Frangos. “From day one, he knew what needed to be done, and who the relevant players were to fulfill our mission.”

“I am extremely fortunate to have had seven fabulous jobs in my career that allowed me to help people and contribute to social justice,” says Whitney. “I worked with staffs both large and small, and I am proud of the team we put together at the Cuyahoga Land Bank. They are the most professional, energetic and caring group. I always enjoyed when I’d go out to meetings and people would stop me and praise the incredible staff. People sought guidance and expertise from us, and this team was able to deliver. I am extremely proud of the significant achievements we’ve made together over the last 10 years.”
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Land Bank Properties

Home for Sale in Cleveland

This three-bedroom two-bath Cape Cod at 3549 E.133 St. in Cleveland's Mt. Pleasant neighborhood requires renovation and is now available through our Deed-In-Escrow Program.

Become an IMPACT! Event Sponsor
On October 17, the Cuyahoga Land Bank and hundreds of regional business and civic leaders, stakeholders, partners, and supporters will come together for IMPACT!, a grand event to celebrate 10 years of accomplishments in Cuyahoga County and kick-off the vital work that must continue in the years ahead. IMPACT! is our charitable affiliate Cuyahoga Land Bank Charities’ first fundraising event and proceeds from the event will benefit Habitat for Humanity and YWCA this year.

There are many ways to get involved in our IMPACT! event, including becoming a sponsor at one of the many available levels; purchasing individual or blocks of tickets; purchasing advertising; and donating to and taking part in the silent auction. We invite you to join us on October 17 and ask you to consider sponsoring the event.
Click HERE to find out more about sponsorship opportunities.

Cuyahoga Land Bank
10-Year IMPACT! Celebration
Thursday, October 17, 2019
The Madison
4601 Payne Avenue, Cleveland

Get your tickets today!


Home for Sale in Lyndhurst

This three-bedroom one-bath Colonial at 1542 Grenleigh Road in Lyndhurst is currently under renovation and is available for sale. For details on this property, please call 216-698-8853 and for a list of other homes currently under renovation, visit our website.

Another Major Milestone

The Cuyahoga Land Bank hit another milestone in August as it demolished its 8,000th blighted structure in Cuyahoga County since forming in 2009. This milestone is a testament to the hard work and tireless dedication of the entire Cuyahoga Land Bank staff who make the day-to-day operations of the Land Bank run so smoothly and efficiently!

The mission of the Cuyahoga Land Bank is to strategically acquire properties, return them to productive use, reduce blight, increase property values, support community goals and improve the quality of life for county residents.

Copyright © 2019 Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corporation, All rights reserved.
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