By Ed Runyan
The $982,616 awarded this week to the Trumbull County Land Bank will enable the nonprofit Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership to demolish about 75 more homes in addition to the 150 it still is working to remove.
The Ohio Housing Finance Agency announced Monday that Trumbull County will get the third-highest amount among the seven Ohio counties being funded in this round.
The counties receiving the most were Cuyahoga with $2.7 million and Lucas with $2 million. The others are Ashtabula, Lorain, Montgomery and Richland, all getting $296,034 more. The money was left over from earlier awards.
The Trumbull Land Bank and TNP have carried out 70 demolitions so far with the $3.2 million the Ohio Housing Finance Agency awarded the land bank in 2014. Fifty more are under demolition contract, and another 125 to be demolished have been identified, said Matt Martin, executive director of TNP. With the new funding the total that can be removed is close to 300.
“Recipients of [the new funds] qualified for additional awards after demonstrating exceptional progress toward acquiring vacant and blighted properties to be eliminated under the program,” the Ohio Housing Finance Agency said in a news release.
“What it comes down to is we have a pipeline of homes under our control,” Martin said of TNP, giving credit to the land bank and Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Office for efficiently taking steps to get the homes into the Land Bank so they can be demolished and sold to neighbors for TNP’s side-lot program.
That happens because the land bank expedites the foreclosure process and TNP secures donations of such properties, mostly through the banks, Martin said.
“It’s huge news in terms of tearing down houses, but it will also allow us to continue our Lots To Love Program, which allows us to provide up to $6,000 per site to do a garden or park after the house is torn down,” Martin said of the additional $982,616.
Martin said TNP is now looking at adding one or two additional neighborhoods in Trumbull County to its list of 10 Warren neighborhoods and one in Girard to be improved with the Ohio Housing Finance Agency funds.