Land Bank Hosts Mini "Parade of Homes"
9/15/2016 10:31:35 AM
The Lucas County Land Bank held an Open House for four of its properties last weekend in an effort to promote rehabilitation of vacant and abandoned homes in our community. Four properties were open from 11 am - 1 pm on Saturday, with at least one of the properties having a line of potential buyers waiting outside the home before the showing even began. Land Bank staff and local realtors were present at each location in order to answer questions.
The Land Bank has helped rehab over 400 properties, and these projects have pumped $10 million of private investment into our neighborhoods. The Blade story on this mini "Parade of Homes" can be found by clicking here, and the story that ran on WTVG-13ABC can be found by clicking here.
Land Bank Sets Goal of "1,500 in 1,500"
7/25/2016 4:09:02 PM
It’s a goal for the record books, but the Lucas County Land Bank is ready to set its sights high. At a news conference today, we announced a plan to renovate or demolish 1,500 properties over the next 1,500 days. In other words, every day for the next four years, a property will be fixed up or torn down by the Land Bank. Every single day. This will allow us to remove most of the blighted properties throughout Toledo by the year 2020.
The news conference was held in front of two houses owned by the Land Bank on the 3900 block of Hoiles Avenue in West Toledo: one that must be demolished due to mold damage, and the other that has been renovated by a Land Bank partner and will soon be re-occupied.
More than 400 properties have been renovated through the Land Bank since 2011. That’s important because demolition and renovation are not an either/or. Our neighborhoods need both to be successful.
The announcement follows the recent Hardest Hit Funds award of $13.8 million to the Land Bank, which was a higher award per capita than any other county in Ohio. Lucas County received such a high award in part because it has the lowest demolition costs statewide, paying nearly 25% less than any other county and stretching limited dollars even further for Toledo’s neighborhoods.
The Blade wrote a front-page story about the "1,500 in 1,500" initiative, which you can read by clicking here. The Blade's lead editorial was also dedicated to the program, and you can read that by clicking here.
Toledo Shouldn't Use State Cuts as Excuse for Failure
7/25/2016 12:49:46 PM
The Toledo Blade invited me to write an OpEd about what the City of Toledo should do to make up for the cuts in state funding. Click here if you would like to ready my "Saturday Essay."
Another Possible Benefit of Blight Grant
7/21/2016 1:30:11 PM
WTOL-TV did a story last night in which it highlighted another possible benefit of the $14 million grant the Land Bank received last week from the Hardest Hit Fund: preventing arson. Watch the story by clicking here.
Land Bank Receives $14 M in Fight Against Blight
7/15/2016 2:56:49 PM
The Lucas County Land Bank received a $13.8 million grant earlier this week from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency to continue its fight against blight in Northwest Ohio. With this funding, we have now been awarded over $25 million since 2014 to help address the problems associated with vacant and abandoned homes. The money comes from the Hardest Hit Fund, which is a program administered by the U.S. Treasury Department. The Blade story about the grant can be found by clicking here.
This money will allow us to demolish an additional 700 blighted structures, which will help increase property values in many our of community's most challenged neighborhoods. Of the 18 land banks in Ohio that received funding, Lucas County received the 2nd highest amount (behind only Cuyahoga County) and the highest per capita award of any land bank in the state. Kudos to the land bank staff. Their efficient and excellent work has been recognized and rewarded!
Good News, Bad News in 1st Quarter 2016 Report
5/24/2016 2:43:46 PM
I released my quarterly report on the health of our economy earlier today, and while the news at the national level was not good, there were some encouraging signs of growth at the local level.
The local economy showed year-over-year gains in every category of data I measured. Unemployment dropped again in both Toledo (from 6.3% to 6.2%) and Lucas County (from 5.8% to 5.7%) from March 2015 to March 2016. New car sales increased by 14.26% and sales tax collections were up 4.92%. There were also robust gains in all key building permit statistics, which bodes well for the ongoing recovery of our area's housing and construction sectors.
On the other hand, the country's economy virtually stalled in the first three months of 2016. Despite improvement in jobs and wages, first quarter 2016 GDP showed only 0.5% growth.
If you would like to read a summary of the report, please click here. The full report can be found here.
Land Bank Kicks Off 2016 Housing Fund
5/6/2016 2:42:39 PM
Today the Land Bank announced the guidelines for its 2016 Housing Fund Grants. This year we will award $400,000 to community groups who will implement programs to improve the quality of housing in our community. The Land Bank has given out $800,000 over three previous funding cycles, and past recipients have included Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity, United North, Pathway and NeighborWorks Toledo Region, to name just a few.
Applications are due May 20th.