On February 27th, Ohio General Attorney Mike DeWine held a press conference in Columbus to announce the results of his Moving Ohio Forward (MOF) demolition program. From 2012 through 2014, this important statewide program resulted in 3,500 demolitions in Cuyahoga County. The Cuyahoga Land Bank received $12.8 million in MOF grant funds and this $12.8 million was matched with an additional $11.3 million provided through the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s normal operating budget and a $5 million grant from then County Prosecutor Bill Mason. The Cuyahoga Land Bank, in turn, granted $8.4 million of these funds to the City of Cleveland to support their demolition efforts.
Cuyahoga Land Bank’s Chairman Tony Brancatelli participated in the press conference, praising this much needed effort. “This program, coming when it did, was extremely vital to our communities,” said Brancatelli. The funds used for the MOF program were secured by the Attorney General from
legal settlements with five major national lenders. Through the strong advocacy of the
Thriving Communities Institute’s Director, Jim Rokakis, the Attorney General earmarked $75 million of the settlement dollars for demolition. The Thriving Communities Institute is an effort spearheaded by the Western Reserve Land Conservancy.
It is estimated that 12,000 abandoned structures not including larger multi-family and commercial properties in Cuyahoga County are still in need of demolition. While all the MOF dollars have been expended, much needed demolition activity continues, made possible through the continued strong advocacy of Mr. Rokakis, along with the professional, efficient demolition work undertaken by both the Cuyahoga Land Bank and the City of Cleveland.
In the words of Cuyahoga Land Bank President and General Counsel, Gus Frangos, “To rebuild our healthy communities, we first need to perform some painful root canal work. This important work helped increase housing values and the growth of strong communities throughout Cuyahoga County.”
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