Cuyahoga County made a strong statement in the fight against blight. At the County Council’s October 28, 2014 meeting, it passed a broad ordinance authorizing a $50 million bond issuance to help fund the demolition of vacant and blighted structures.
The bond initiative was announced by County Executive Ed FitzGerald earlier this year. The County Council, community stakeholders, the Cuyahoga Land Bank and County Administration staff worked together for the next several months to craft a flexible, yet targeted approach to blight elimination throughout some of the County’s hardest hit areas. “We know how dangerous these abandoned structures can be. Not only do they devalue a community, but serious criminal activity and arson occur in such structures,” said City of Cleveland Councilman and Cuyahoga Land Bank Chairman Anthony Brancatelli.
County Councilman Dan Brady was instrumental in shepherding the legislation through the County Council and garnering the needed community input and support to assure maximum community impact. Cuyahoga Land Bank President Gus Frangos and Chief Operating Officer William Whitney also weighed in with the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s operational expertise to make sure the legislation was integrated with the work of the Cuyahoga Land Bank. “We know that areas like Cleveland, East Cleveland and the inner-ring suburbs are the communities in greatest need of demolition dollars. Because we work with all of them, this legislation allows us to continue our work uninterrupted throughout the County,” said Whitney.
The legislation calls for a $9 million allocation to the Cuyahoga Land Bank, with the remaining funds being available to Cleveland and surrounding suburbs.
The legislation calls for eliminating a large chunk of blight within roughly a three year period of time. “By doing this, it will jump start real estate markets which have been hindered from growing due to the presence of blight,” said Nathan Kelly, Deputy Chief of Staff representing Executive Ed FitzGerald in the County’s development efforts. “All of the studies show that this not only will increase property values but also lesson the rate of home foreclosures,” said Frangos who praised the County Council and County Executive Ed FitzGerald for supporting this urgent community development priority.
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