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Council to open Community Development Block Grant hearings with presentation on the impact demolition has on Cleveland neighborhoods

Feb 11, 2014
Council to open Community Development Block Grant hearings with presentation on the impact demolition has on Cleveland neighborhoods

Study finds demolition leads to reduced foreclosures, stabilizes real estate values, and lessens tax delinquencies; recommends state and county bonds to meet funding need for demolitions

Cleveland (Feb. 11, 2014) – Cleveland needs $83 million to demolish 8,300 identified distressed properties in an effort to stabilize neighborhood real estate values and reduce the number of foreclosures still plaguing the city.

Estimating the Effect of Demolishing Distressed Structures in Cleveland, Ohio 2009-2013, a report prepared by Griswald Consulting Group, will be the focus of the opening presentation of the 2014 Cleveland City Council Community Development Block Grant Hearings on Tuesday, Feb. 11 at 9 a.m.

The study, which analyzes demolition data from 2009-2013, presents three beneficial community outcomes of demolition of vacant and distressed properties – and the need for additional funding. The study finds a policy of demolition:
Stabilizes and increases real estate values for surrounding properties and neighborhoods
Decreases the rate of foreclosures in neighborhoods
Lessens tax delinquencies

To date, the city of Cleveland has spent $58 million combating the vast number of vacant and distressed properties across the city.  

“We’ve identified 8,300 distressed structures in Cleveland to come down at a price tag of $83 million,” said Cleveland City Councilman Tony Brancatelli. “We believe the study is important in demonstrating the positive impacts of a large demolition investment in the city.  And the time is now to secure funding and bring these properties down before further financial damages impact our neighborhoods.”

The study, originally prepared for the U.S. Treasury in seeking use of HHF dollars for demolition, will generate $15 million in support, but comes with limitations.  The entity must have title and the dollars can only be used by the County Land Bank.  The city needs immediate funding so it can address the vast properties listed for demolition.

While the $15 million from the U.S. Treasury will help, much more funding is needed to take down distressed properties, and raises the question of the State of Ohio and/or Cuyahoga County issuing bonds to cover the estimated $83 million cost in a timely manner to aid Cleveland in its economic recovery.

“The time is now to secure funding so we can stabilize our communities,” said Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley. “We must strategically work to demolish those properties which pose a threat to our community and rehab others to retain our diverse and historic housing stock.  By doing so, we can improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods and attract new residents to Cleveland.”

The study and its findings will be presented to Cleveland City Council by Jim Rokakis, executive director, Thriving Communities Institute; Nigel Griswald, Griswald Consulting Group; Gus Frangos, president and general counsel, Cuyahoga Land Bank; Michael Schramm, director of IT and research, Cuyahoga Land Bank; and Frank Ford, senior policy advisor, Thriving Communities Institute.  The presenters will discuss the need for demolition, the context for the study, and outline potential funding sources to aid the city in removing the 8,300 identified structures in distress.