Greater Ohio, through its vacant property redevelopment network, ReBuild Ohio, helped advance new federal legislation this week. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rep. Tim Ryan introduced the Community Regeneration, Sustainability and Innovation Act, targeting community revitalization in older Ohio cities.Greater Ohio Co-Director Lavea Brachman, in a press call with the Senator on March 11, stated that the Act would “usher in a whole new era of federal urban policy, giving the many cities in Ohio -- large and small -- that have shrunk in population the impetus they need to reimagine themselves and to work collaboratively and rebuild for a twenty-first century economy.” The Senator released a county-by-county report on population loss and a statewide analysis of vacant properties. The report revealed that more than 18 percent of housing units in Columbus were vacant or abandoned in 2006, with even more dire numbers in Ohio’s other core cities.
The Community Regeneration, Sustainability and Innovation Act of 2009 (CRSI) would create a new, competitive program within HUD targeted towards cities and metropolitan areas experiencing large-scale property vacancy and abandonment, and would provide assistance to communities to start or expand land banks that establish public control so the properties can be used in ways to benefit the public. The program would also provide funds to demolish abandoned properties, find innovative uses for old structures, and create green space.
Greater Ohio sees opportunities to align this federal legislation with our state reform agenda and the Restoring Prosperity to Ohio Initiative through strategies we are proposing to assist communities to “right-size.”