By Dawn Larzelere. This week I participated in the Ohio Housing Conference and moderated a session on Wednesday that dealt with how land banks can help reshape urban landscapes. Special thanks to a great panel that included Peter Ujvagi (Lucas County Administrator and bill sponsor of the legislation that expanded county land bank authority to 41 additional counties), Gus Frangos (President of the Cuyahoga County Land Bank), Donna Hunter (Columbus Land Bank), and Russell Berusch (Case Western Reserve University and President of Berusch Development Partners).
For ninety minutes we were able to not only educate the audience but ourselves as well on the importance of this tool as we deal with issues in our urban cores, including declining population, surplus housing, and environmental issues. Thanks to the Ohio Housing Finance Agency and the Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing for putting on such a great conference and including sessions such as this one to showcase the good work that is going on in Ohio and how it could be replicated not only in other counties in Ohio but across the country as well.