The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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Homeowners and investors in East Toledo and Oregon can learn how they can increase their property values when county treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz talks abut the county’s new land bank program Thursday, January 20 at the Weber Block, Front and Main in East Toledo.

Overgrown lots, vacant or dilapidated houses and abandoned industrial or commercial property can all bring down home values restricting your ability to borrow money or sell your home.

Kapszukiewicz will talk about the new Lucas County Land Reutilization Corporation, which will have the power to acquire and sell foreclosed tax delinquent properties without going through the long court process leading to a sheriff’s sale.

This process, which can be as lengthy as two years, will be shortened to 90 days and will provide buyers with clear titles while eliminating back taxes.

The land bank is the second in Ohio and is patterned after similar land banks in Ohio’s Cuyahoga County and Michigan’s Genesee County. While the details are still in the discussion stage, the following options are offered by the Genesee land bank:

• Clean and Green: Neighborhood groups apply for $4500 grants to develop vacant properties into vegetable and flower gardens;

• Adopt-a-lot: Similar to the Clean and Green program, residents can adopt a lot for free and beautify it into a park-like setting or grow gardens;

• Side lot sales: Homeowners can purchase a vacant side lot for one year’s back taxes and $39 in application fees. The lot would then be added to the tax roll and the property owner would be liable for future taxes.

The land bank can also sell properties to prospective homeowners through land contracts and to licensed contractors who want to renovate and resell or rent properties. These would be sold at market rates.

Kapszukiewicz told The Press in September the program can benefit all county residents. “This will have the ability to increase property values across the board. It isn’t just about the house that is vacant and abandoned or demolished or rehabbed. It’s just as much about the houses on either side of the vacant house that have seen their values go down.”

Funding will come through an increase in the interest rate charged all delinquent property owners. Kapszukiewicz estimates annual income at $1.5 million. The first money will arrive in March.

East Toledo property values increased faster than any other segment of the city in the late 1990s due to an expedited process for demolition of nuisance properties and a surge by Neighborhood Housing Services and Housing East to build new homes and renovate dilapidated homes. These actions spurred other homeowners to renovate their homes. But, when the recession hit, the effort ground to a halt as federal funding dried up. It is hoped the land bank can restart that effort.

The talk will start at Noon and is sponsored by The East Toledo Club. Call Andrea at 419-691-7651 for reservations.

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