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Report outlines successes of Mahoning Land Bank

Debora Flora, executive director of Mahoning Valley Land Bank

YOUNGSTOWN — The Mahoning County Land Bank has tallied the results of demolition and repurposing efforts across Mahoning County over the course of the past decade.

Since the land bank’s inception in 2011, the organization has used more than $18 million “to clear away empty, badly damaged houses in 16 communities,” said Executive Director Debora Flora, in a new “10 Years of Tangible Results” report.

The document also notes the land bank’s demolition program has played a part in increasing property values.

Over five years, reimbursements from the Neighborhood Initiative Program generated more than $15 million, which went toward 1,106 demolitions in Mahoning County.

One area targeted was the city of Campbell. About $1.2 million was secured by the land bank for projects there over the span of three years. During that time, more than 100 properties were acquired, 97 demolitions were completed, and six houses that were originally listed to be demolished were renovated and sold.

Prior to those five years, the land bank received $2.6 million for residential demolition in 2012 to 2014. Those dollars came from the Moving Ohio Forward Program, administered by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office with settlement funds from mortgage lawsuits. Using matching funds from local governments, the land bank and community partners were able to raze 308 vacant houses.

The land bank repurposes vacant, abandoned and blighted land through greening and landscaping efforts. Community gardens, free libraries and bus shelters have popped up around the Mahoning Valley as part of the program.

Last year, the land bank also decided to begin incorporating native plants to urban properties as well.

Going forward, the land bank anticipates to see a drop in crime, vacancy and blight by 2023 when the next round of propery assessments is completed by Mahoning County.

news@tribtoday.com

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