An update of the happenings at Cuyahoga Land Bank
Ohio Land Bank Conference | West Creek Land Conservancy - 2015.11.2

Destination Cleveland!

What do you have when over two hundred and fifty people assemble at the Wyndham Hotel representing county land banks throughout Ohio? It’s the annual Thriving Communities Institute's Ohio Land Bank ConferLand Bank Staff ence.
This year’s sessions highlighted many nuts-and-bolts issues and operations for land banks, as well as new topics dealing with the environment, public records, communications strategies, and the role of county land banks in repurposing vacant and abandoned commercial and industrial properties.
Adding to the excitement of this year’s conference was that Ohio now has over twenty five land banks ranging from the fully operational Lucas County Land Bank and Cuyahoga Land Bank, to smaller land banks that only have a few employees. Thriving Communities Institute, Executive Director James Rokakis, opened up the conference with a report on the importance of land banks in stabilizing our communities and highlighted Thriving Communities Institute's work throughout Ohio.
The keynote speaker was Cuyahoga Land Bank Board Chairman and Ward 12 Cleveland Councilmen Anthony Brancatelli. The Councilman gave both uplifting examples of the progress and extraordinary accomplishments of county land banks as well as examples of very sobering realitiLand Bank Staff es involving safety, crime and community destabilization associated with vacant and abandoned properties.
The Cuyahoga Land Bank this year was again involved in several conferences. Cheryl Stephens, Director of Acquisitions and Development, provided a detailed A to Z clinic on acquisition, demolition and environmental practices. Stephens continues to be a leader in the land banking field.
Dennis Roberts, Director of Programs, spoke on property sales strategies and renovation. His department has facilitated the renovation of over 1,100 homes since 2009.
Sarah Norman, Records Manager and Jacqui Knettel, Executive Assistant, presented on the importance of records retention for land banks.  The discussion provided both an entertaining and in-depth analysis of records management and retention since all land banks are subject to the Sunshine Laws and public records statutes.
Gus Frangos, President and General Counsel, conducted a conference session for the smaller and recently incorporated land banks to give them a perspective on how to start a land bank.Land Bank Staff
According to Rokakis, “These conferences provide a great opportunity for large and small, experienced and less experienced land banks to get together, share notes and assist one another with best practices.”
The statewide conference is an important tool to drive policy to help address the vacant and abandoned properties through out the state.  The Cuyahoga Land Bank has served as a policy leader in addressing these issues. We hope to see everyone at next year’s statewide conference that will be held in Columbus, Ohio.

West Creek Conservancy Helps Protect Donated Property

In the spring of 2014, Deborah (Gries) Zawislan contacted Tinker’s Creek Watershed Partners (TCWP) about a property that her family inherited with a vision of transforming it into a protected greenspace, “Lorry’s Woods,” in honor of their mother. The Gries property consisted of 3.65 acres on Bear Creek, a tributary creek that begins in Highland Hills and meets the mLand Bank Staff ain stream of Tinker’s Creek, which is the largest tributary of the Cuyahoga River, within the Bedford Reservation.
At the time the Gries family inherited the property, it included their family home, a large cinder garage that was used by their father’s construction business, and two rental properties, all built by their father in the fifties and sixties. Unfortunately, the heating, electrical and septic systems were out of date, which posed a major barrier to selling any of the properties. “Donating the land is important to my brothers and me because we all have memories of growing up in the woods on the property,” said Deborah.
Babette Gowda, at TCWP began to work with Deborah to transform the property into a protected greenspace. Since TCWP does not hold land, they reached out to West Creek Conservancy and asked it to partner on the project.
Babette first reviewed the property through participating in an Ohio EPA assessment of Land Bank Staff
the health of the stream, which concluded that the stream was in relatively good condition but did not have proper flood plain access because of the buildings on the property.
With the cooperation of the City of Bedford, the Cuyahoga Land Bank was asked to help bring the property back to its natural state. The Gries family donated the property to the Cuyahoga Land Bank which used Cuyahoga County Demolition Program Funds to remove the buildings. “This area does not have a lot of undeveloped water access so it’s really exciting to be a part of a project that brings back the beauty of the creek for everyone to enjoy,” said Gus Frangos, Cuyahoga Land Bank President and General Counsel. With the demolition complete, the Cuyahoga Land Bank has gifted the property to West Creek Conservancy, which will hold it in perpetuity as protected land, actively maintaining the portion visibleLand Bank Staff from the road. The Gries property is now a flourishing green
space for the public to enjoy.
“This initiative is a prime example of partnerships at work to protect another great resource, Tinker’s Creek!” said Derek Schafer, Executive Director of West Creek Conservancy. “We are extremely grateful to the Gries Family, TCWP, and the City of Bedford for their support, and for the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s tremendous efforts and contribution to the project. Reclaiming this section of Tinker’s Creek was only possible because of the strong network of support and collaboration.”
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Did you know?

This past summer the Cuyahoga Land Bank had the opportunity to host a student intern through the Cleveland Foundation Summer Internship Program.  Staff member Lilah Zautner, Manager of Special Projects and Land Reuse, has shared the success of the program in the attached video.  The program offers college and graduate students the opportunity to work for eleven weeks at a Cleveland-area nonprofit organization or governmental agency.  Joyce Pan Huang joined the staff at the Cuyahoga Land Bank and focused on a comprehensive research project of vacant and abandoned industrial and commercial properties in the City of Cleveland. The work that Joyce completed is already contributing to the Cuyahoga Land Bank's work to improve the City of Cleveland!

Bid on this Euclid home before December 12th!

This home at 21751 Miller Ave. 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 Colonial home at 911 East 139th in Cleveland requires renovation and is now available through our Deed-In-Escrow Program.

Renovated Home For Sale in Euclid

This bungalow at 1908 Braeburn Park Dr. in Euclid is under renovation by the Cuyahoga Land Bank and is listed 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.

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 © 2015 Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corporation, All rights reserved.
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