An update of the happenings at Cuyahoga Land Bank
Ohio Land Bank Conference | County Melting Pot - Cuyahoga Land Bank News - 2014.11.1

2014 Ohio Land Bank Conference

This year’s Ohio Land Bank Conference hosted by The Thriving Communities Institute saw an ever increasing number of participants.  The conference was a success, and is a testament to the increase in “land banking” throughout the State. The conference is a platform for Land Banks to learn from each other in order to better achieve their mission. The Cuyahoga Land Bank has become a prominent leader in Land Bank best practices and this conference it the opportunity to feature it's work.  This year’s conference topics have evolved from the basic functions of a Land Bank Conference Land Bank (including demolition and renovation) to focusing on redevelopment and strategic programing to help reimagine our communities. The Cuyahoga Land Bank addressed the importance of fine tuning the essential functions of a Land Bank through presentations on “Land Banks 101” and “The Basics of Demolition,” presented by the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s Director of Acquisitions, Dispositions and Development, Cheryl Stephens.  The conference also focused on advanced practices ranging from vacant land reuse, and programing for reuse of green space and the importance of utilizing funding streams to achieve neighborhood-focused redevelopment.
The land reuse presentation offered the Cuyahoga Land Bank the chance to share its success stories and lessons.  The Cuyahoga Land Bank Manager of Special Projects and Land Reuse, Lilah Zautner and Mahoning County Land Bank Executive Director, Debora Flora painted a picture of how various creative green space reimagining projects have effectively capitalized on vacant space to create a positive impact. This presentation offered other Land Banks the knowledge to launch greening projects in their own communities.Land Bank Conference Sponsors
“Reimagining the urban space sometimes means trying something and seeing why it doesn’t work,” said Zautner.  “Through practice, we’ve learned that the most successful projects provide a reason for the community to remain invested and require minimal maintenance.”
Collaboration was an important theme at the conference.  Cuyahoga Land Bank President and General Counsel, Gus Frangos shared the stage with City of South Euclid Housing Manager, Sally Martin and Thriving Communities Senior Policy Advisor, Frank Ford to discuss the positive outcomes of The Vacant and Abandoned Property Action Council (VAPAC). The VAPAC group brings together government representatives, stakeholders and practitioners to help show participating agencies the bigger picture. The group shares insights and observations, and capitalizes on the collective knowledge at the table. By bringing everyone together, VAPAC has been able to identify overarching issues and trends, encourage a uniform approach to policy and obtain recognition as the respected voice on foreclosure and vacancy issues.
“Through VAPAC, we have been able to bring together people from a variety of perspectives in order to create effective policy because we are now speaking the same language,” Frangos said.
The Thriving Communities Institute has created a successful conference that has given Ohio Land Banks the opportunity to establish, build or improve their daily operations.  Thanks to all of the conference sponsors, the event was a success.  We hope to see everyone at the conference in 2015!

A County Melting Pot

Inside, the Cuyahoga Land Bank staff consists of a diverse group of professionals at all levels.  The Cuyahoga Land Bank’s largest operational expenditure is attributed to the cost of demolition and related demolition charges.  Of the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s 30 plus demolition contractors, over 40% are a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) or a Female Business Enterprise (FBE).  Of the contract dollars expended, over 50% of demolition dollars were awarded to MBE/FBE contractoLand Bank Staff rs in 2014.
The Cuyahoga Land Bank does not impose hard and fast rules on minority participation.  Rather, the Cuyahoga Land Bank bids work out and selects the lowest and best contractors.  Many smaller MBE/FBE contractors are able to participate with the Cuyahoga Land Bank because of the clear standards and bidding procedures.  If the standards are understood and complied with, the Cuyahoga Land Bank provides a quick turn-around and payment of a contractor’s invoice.  This is crucial to smaller enterprises.
Another reason for the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s success is that the Land Bank holds routine training and development seminars to assist contractors in compliance with and understanding of the Land Bank’s paperwork, procurement and quality standards.  “When these things are clearly explained and understood, MBE/FBE participation happens naturally,” said Cheryl Stephens, Director of Acquisition, Development and Disposition.  “We demand quality work, and we give contractors guidance and training so that they can meet our requirements,” she added.
And, as you might suspect, the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s work with outside partners and agencies throughout the County include all ethnicities, races and geographies.
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Land Bank Properties

Fun Fact!

The Cuyahoga Land Bank works hard to maintain all of the properties in their portfolio.  The summer and spring are one of the busiest season for the field service crews. Over this past season, the Cuyahoga Land Bank maintained 1,604 properties and cut a total of 17,008 lawns! In order to maintain each property a field service visit occurs at least twice a month to assure that the building is secure, the grass is cut and all debris are removed. The Program and Property Management department helps keep property maintenance on schedule and properties properly maintained with the help of our Property Profile System (PPS). Our PPS database allows us to track inventory, property maintenance, and project management.  The Cuyahoga Land Bank Team works together to successfully manage our properties and reach these numbers!

Bid on this Home before November 28th!

This home at 1485 E 248th in Euclid requires minimal renovation and is now available under the Advantage Plus Loan Program. Minimum bid starts at $5,000!

Home for Sale in Cleveland

This home at 3357 W 59th St in Cleveland requires renovation and is now available through our Deed-in-Escrow Program.

Home Under Renovation in Brooklyn

This ranch home at 9538 Idlewood Dr in Brooklyn is under renovation by the Cuyahoga Land Bank. For details on this property, please call 216-698-8853 and for a list of other homes currently under renovation, visit our website.

Did You Know?

The Cuyahoga Land Bank recently partnered with Cleveland State University to host a graduate student from the Marshall College of Law and Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs. Graduate student, Ben Scott joined the Cuyahoga Land Bank this past summer and will be with the team through December 2014. He is in his third year of the joint law and planning degree JD/MUPDD program. Ben has lived in Cleveland for the past ten years and previously worked for the Cleveland Indians marketing department. This past summer, Ben got married and has his first child on the way! Ben’s intern work at the Cuyahoga Land Bank focuses on legal and policy research, document drafting, CDC pass through agreements, and Property Profile System management.

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 © 2014 Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corporation, All rights reserved.
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