On Sunday, The Columbus Dispatch ran an article on the potential formation of the Franklin County Reutilization Corporation. This morning, the Dispatch had an editorial supporting the establishment of the county-wide land bank. We applaud the Dispatch for their coverage and support of this significant development, and Ed Leonard, Franklin County Treasurer for undertaking this vital program. Though Franklin County currently operates a land bank, they are barred from obtaining residential property. The Franklin County Reutilization Corporation could acquire foreclosed properties (including residential homes), rehabilitate them, or sell the properties qualified non-profit developers. The City of Columbus currently has a land bank that holds almost 900 properties; the establishment of a county-wide land bank would work in conjunction with the city’s land bank to combat the vacant property crisis.
Since the passage of both SB 535 and HB 313, in which Greater Ohio was instrumental, four counties have established land banks: Cuyahoga, Lucas, Montgomery and Trumbull. Cuyahoga, Lucas and Trumbull counties have acquired an impressive 1900 properties. There are an additional seven counties who are in the process of launching land banks, including Stark County and Butler County.
With the devastating problem of vacant and abandoned properties, and their negative impact on so many Ohio neighborhoods, it is imperative for the state to help cities and counties develop solutions. Greater Ohio praises these leaders throughout the state who are implementing land banks and we are working to continue to advocate for additional state tools and solutions that will address the property challenges all our communities are facing.