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The Ohio Land Bank Conference - Mad Man on a Great Lake Blog

The Seventh Annual Ohio Land Bank Conference was held Monday through Wednesday September 11th through the 13th at the Crown Plaza Hotel in downtown Cleveland.   Presented by the Thriving Communities Program of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, members of 46 Land Banks throughout the State of Ohio, along with many others, met for two days of seminars, networking, and speeches. The keynote speaker of the event was former Ohio Treasurer (and current head of the Consumer Protection Bureau) Richard Cordray who stopped in for Lunch on his way to the West Coast.  While his aid was coy about whether or not he was going to run for governor, her boss sure delivered what was in effect a campaign speech.  The one comment of his that stuck out was that, when it comes to delinquent properties; “There’s no fixing until someone comes in the fix them.”  That’s where the Land Banks come in. There were seminars as well, at an extra cost, on location mobile workshops for those interested in getting out of the hotel and into the area. Cleveland’s Buckeye Neighborhood: A Case Study in Comprehensive Community Redevelopment and Rid All Green Partnership Growing Food, Jobs and Green Neighborhoods.  The one that intrigued me the most was the one done by Ian Beniston and Tiffany Sokol; the Executive Director of the Youngstown Development Corporation (YNDC).  They have managed without Federal subsidies or tax credits, to repurpose vacant houses in that city, sell them to permanent homeowners, and in the process increase the property values in ‘tipping point’ neighborhoods.  Last year, the YNDC rehab bed 23 homes.  The vast majority who work on the rehabs are local residents; laborers, electricians, etc., and they use Facebook to market them.  The average day a house is on the market is 2 days, compared to a 9 month average for homes in Youngstown as a whole.  Another interesting fact is that the deed requires the purchaser to occupy the house for at least five years. To read the full entry from the Mad Man on a Great Lake Blog, click here.