By Ed Runyan
Matt Martin, executive director of Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, says the $3.2 million the Ohio Housing Finance Agency awarded to the Trumbull County Land Bank last month will allow the county to knock down 250 more of its most-blighted homes.
That’s on top of the 500 demolitions the county is finalizing from earlier federal and state funding. Warren has most of the homes on the demolition list.
And with the “pipeline” of properties county officials have addressed in the courts in recent months, it’s possible additional OHFA money will be awarded in a second funding round coming up late this year, Martin said.
Martin, whose Wean Foundation-funded nonprofit organization carries out most of the land bank’s demolition work, was among those who attended the land bank’s monthly meeting Tuesday in the county commissioners’ meeting room.
County Treasurer Sam Lamancusa, president of the nonprofit land bank, said the $3.2 million was more than six times higher than the guaranteed minimum of $500,000 the county was allotted according to its population.
Some of the 11 land banks statewide that received money got the minimum; some got double the minimum, such as Mahoning County, which got $4.26 million.
But Trumbull County most likely got more than six times the minimum because it had 100 vacant homes ready for demolition.
“There’s no doubt it was our performance that qualified us for that amount,” Lamancusa said.
Land bank member James Pirko said the county’s land bank, the third one established in the state, is “considered a leader in the world of land banks.” Seventeen Ohio counties have one.
Pirko said the work Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership and Michael Robinson of the county treasurer’s office showed the need for demolitions and showed that the money will be used properly.
Robinson said one thing that’s helping get abandoned homes into the land bank is to use the county Board of Revision procedure to turn over close to 200 pieces of vacant property to the land bank without judges’ having to handle them like a standard foreclosure. That allows the foreclosures on the court docket to get through faster, Robinson said.