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For every $1 donated, the Land Conservancy is able to protect $16 worth of land. We are so grateful for the generosity and support of people throughout our region. Together we are making a difference!
We are always looking for volunteers to help with our fundraising events like EverGreen EverBlue and our social events like Triple Tap. If you enjoy socializing, pitching in, and helping others we need you.
Land. People. Communities. Help spread the word about the Land Conservancy’s vision for our region and learn about ways to get involved. Visit our profile on these social media sites.
events & calendar
Staff Art Exhibit
January 14 - March 30, 2014
An exhibit featuring artwork produced by Land Conservancy staff members will be on display through March 30 at our headquarters, 3850 Chagrin River Road, Moreland Hills. The exhibit will be open for viewing by the public during regular business hours, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. In addition, an opening reception is from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Jan. 23.
Winter Ecology Tour
Saturday, March 1
10 a.m. at Ashcroft WoodsClick here for more information.
and publications from the Land Conservancy
February 21, 2014
The head of the nonprofit organization responsible for securing more than $182 million in demolition funding for Ohio cities is applauding Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald’s proposal to issue $50 million in bonds to raze homes in Cleveland and its suburbs.
Jim Rokakis, director of Thriving Communities Institute and a nationally recognized expert on the foreclosure crisis, said he is pleased Cuyahoga County may be adding to the demolition funds already allocated by the federal government, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, the City of Cleveland and others. FitzGerald’s bond issue proposal for Cuyahoga County would still need the approval of County Council.
FitzGerald made the proposal at his State of the County address on Wednesday. (Read the Plain Dealer's commentary on the speech here.)
“While vacant properties are especially troubling—and devastating to inner city neighborhoods—their impact is felt by property owners all over Cuyahoga County who are paying millions more in property taxes to cover the losses to the City of Cleveland tax base, “ Rokakis said.Read more...
February 13, 2014
Study says demolition
helps curb Cleveland
mortgage foreclosure rates
Cleveland neighborhoods in which blighted homes are razed generally have lower mortgage foreclosure rates, according to a new study of the impact of demolition in the city and inner-ring suburbs over a four-year period. The study also concluded that residential property values “can be hedged by demolition activity across Cleveland submarkets.” The study area was comprised of four submarkets, ranging from high functioning to extremely weak. Findings indicated that stronger neighborhoods realize the largest home-equity benefits. The study, which was conducted by the Griswold Consulting Group at the request of Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s Thriving Communities Institute and funded in part by Cleveland City Council, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, the Eva L. and Joseph M. Bruening Foundation and Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, looked at the effect that residential demolition had on real estate equity and mortgage-foreclosure rates in Cleveland and several inner-ring suburbs between 2009 and 2013. Other sponsors include land banks in Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Lucas, Mahoning, Montgomery, Stark, Summit and Trumbull counties.
January 23, 2014
seeks $200 Million
A broad coalition of civic organizations and public officials wants Ohio to receive $200 million in funds from the $13 billion settlement of mortgage-fraud claims brought by the U.S. Department of Justice against JPMorgan Chase.The Ohio Plan, the coalition’s proposal for the settlement funds, calls for the money to go toward the razing of dilapidated properties throughout the state, programs to prevent home foreclosure and abandonment, the renovation of blighted homes and the re-purposing of vacant parcels resulting from demolition.
January 21, 2014
for farmland lease
The Land Conservancy is requesting proposals for a three-year lease to farm a 300-acre tract in Bloomfield and Orwell townships. The land was used to produce corn in 2013. Proposals are due by 10 a.m. Feb. 15 at the Land Conservancy's headquarters. You can view the entire Request for Proposals here.
January 15, 2014
preserved an additional
4,000 acres in 2013
The Land Conservancy permanently preserved another 51 properties and more than 4,000 acres in 2013, marking one of the organization’s best years ever. The preserved property total was only one short of the Land Conservancy’s high-water mark in 2011, while the 4,011 acres permanently protected in 2013 represented the organization’s fourth-best year behind 2012 (5,525 acres), 2011 (5,524) and 2007 (5,249). In addition, the Land Conservancy’s Thriving Communities Institute, which is helping revitalize urban centers throughout Ohio, assisted in the formation of new land banks in Ashtabula and Richland counties in 2013.Read more...
January 6, 2014
Four are named to
Land Conservancy board
The Land Conservancy has named Tom Butch, Ruth Swetland Eppig, Nancy Rubin and Craig Owen White to its Board of Trustees. The Land Conservancy, formed in 2006 by the merger of eight local land trusts, has permanently preserved 533 properties and more than 38,000 acres in northern and eastern Ohio. In addition, its Thriving Communities Institute helps revitalize urban centers across the state.
Check out highlights
of our work in 2013
From the countryside to the city, the Land Conservancy helped make a difference in 2013. This video looks at some of the people and places that were critical to our work.
Oct. 22, 2013
Rokakis: Help foreclosure
victims who still live in
A nationally recognized expert told advocates for urban revitalization that the forgotten victims of the foreclosure crisis are those homeowners who paid their mortgages and taxes on time and maintained their houses, only to see their property values plummet due to vacant and abandoned structures in the neighborhood.
Jim Rokakis, vice president of the nonprofit Western Reserve Land Conservancy and director of its Thriving Communities Institute, urged those attending the Revitalizing Ohio’s Vacant Properties conference to advocate for homeowners who remain in blighted neighborhoods but feel powerless to enact change.
Rokakis made the plea in his opening remarks at the Oct. 22-23 conference in Columbus.Read more...
Oct. 8, 2013
Parkland acquisition adds
to Medina's green corridor
The Medina County Park District’s acquisition of a tract off Fenn Road is the latest link in a corridor of conserved land through parts of Medina and Medina Township – one that is two miles long and covers more than 600 acres.The park district worked with the nonprofit Western Reserve Land Conservancy to acquire the 87-acre Medina Marsh, which is located south of Fenn Road and east of Pearl Road in Medina Township. The Medina Marsh parcel connects the county park district’s 41-acre Vansco Nature Preserve to Medina’s 308-acre Reagan and Huffman parks, which in turn are adjacent to Lake Medina, a former reservoir that is now a 190-acre county park.Read more...
Sept. 24, 2013
hit 10-year low,
Foreclosure filings are down significantly in Cuyahoga County and may reach a 10-year low if the trend continues through the end of 2013, according to a new report done by Frank Ford, Senior Policy Advisor for Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s Thriving Communities Institute. But in spite of this dramatic drop, foreclosures are still double the rate they were before the crisis began, the report said, and vacant and blighted properties are still at record-high levels, posing a major threat to the real estate market in the county.
This report looked at foreclosure and vacant property trends in Cuyahoga County between 1995 and Aug. 31, 2013, with an emphasis on the past six years since the foreclosure crisis peaked in 2007. Based on current trends, the report provides an estimate of foreclosure counts at the end of 2013.
In the report, Ford states that “if this downward trend were to continue it could represent an opportunity for market stabilization, i.e., a slow-down of the incoming pipeline of new vacancy and blight could give Cleveland and its suburbs a chance to ‘catch-up’ and address the existing inventory of market-crippling blight. That would lead to the recovery of home values, and more importantly, the recovery of home equity which is the single largest asset for many struggling families in Cuyahoga County.”
You can read the full report here.
Sept. 16, 2013
Lake Erie Bluffs
Federal, state and local officials joined residents and nature-lovers on Monday morning for the dedication of Lake Erie Bluffs, a 600-acre Lake Metroparks preserve in Perry Township. The preserve features nearly two miles of undeveloped Lake Erie shoreline. The Land Conservancy helped Lake Metroparks acquire the property. Land Conservancy President and CEO Rich Cochran was one of the speakers at Monday's dedication ceremony.
Aug. 26, 2013
first virtual fundraiser
You can help make our important conservation work possible by participating in Imaginature, our first virtual fundraiser. In lieu of holding our wildly popular EverGreen EverBlue gala this year, we are asking friends to take the night off and support us from the comfort of your own home.
Don’t get us wrong – we love staging EverGreen EverBlue, and we will do so again in September 2014. We are simply putting the event on hiatus for a year, giving our organization a chance to regroup from our busiest year ever. Hosting a party for 600 people takes a lot of time and resources – energy the Land Conservancy has been channeling toward its mission.
Please watch for our Imaginature mailing. Instead of spending money on a great party, please make a donation to help us preserve natural areas, farmland and coastlines, and to revitalize our neighborhoods. Every dollar you spend to “attend” Imaginature will be 100 percent tax-deductible.
When we hold EverGreen EverBlue in September 2014, attendees can expect a night of great conversation and a few new additions to excite the senses. We can’t wait. In the meantime, let your Imaginature wander!
July 23, 2013
Rep. Joyce announces major
Great Lakes initiative
The Land Conservancy was one of the organizations on hand July 22 when U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce announced the Great Lakes Ecological and Economic Protection Act of 2013, which will authorize the cleanup and restoration of the Great Lakes region while creating jobs and improving the environmental quality of the lakes. The announcement was made at Lake Metroparks’ Lake Erie Bluffs Park and also included representatives from the Alliance for the Great Lakes, Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, Ducks Unlimited, Ohio Environmental Council, The Nature Conservancy, Great Lakes Maritime Task Force and U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge’s office.
April 29, 2013
Crain's Cleveland Business has named Sarah Ryzner, director of projects for Thriving Communities Institute, to its Who to Watch list for nonprofits. Ryzner joined Western Reserve Land Conservancy and Thriving Communities after working as a real estate lawyer and as a site-acquisition consultant for commercial interests. Sarah, who also holds a master's degree in urban planning from Cleveland State University, is responsible for identifying and managing key real-estate transactions in urban areas and, in conjunction with our partners, promoting healthy land in urban neighborhoods. She also builds relationships and promotes Land Conservancy programs. She lives in Cleveland.
February 20, 2013
Land Conservancy praises
of bill to fund home demolition
Western Reserve Land Conservancy, which launched its Thriving Communities Institute program to address the foreclosure crisis, is applauding a bill introduced by area congressional representatives to establish a bond program to fund demolition of vacant, abandoned and tax-foreclosed homes. Land Conservancy President and CEO Rich Cochran and Thriving Communities Institute Director Jim Rokakis, a national expert on the foreclosure crisis, praised U.S. Reps. David Joyce, Marcy Kaptur and Marcia Fudge for introducing the Restore Our Neighborhoods Act, which would authorize up to $4 billion in new bond allocation for states to help fund demolition.
February 11, 2013
Land Conservancy applauds
renewal of enhanced
Congress has renewed the enhanced income tax deduction for conservation easements through 2013, and retroactive to the beginning of 2012. This incentive will help the Land Conservancy work with farmers, ranchers and other landowners to increase the pace of conservation. Landowners who act quickly to conserve their land can now enjoy these benefits, but they’re currently set to expire December 31, 2013.
Lapses in the enhanced incentive hamper our strategic conservation efforts and are frustrating for landowners. That’s why the Land Conservancy is working so hard to enact legislation to make the enhanced incentive permanent.
February 5, 2013
Land Conservancy president
unveils conservation initiative
for Utica shale region
Land Conservancy President and CEO Rich Cochran today announced the launch of an ambitious and collaborative land conservation plan to help the people and communities of eastern Ohio being impacted by oil and gas exploration. Cochran announced the plan in his afternoon keynote address at the Crain’s Shale Summit 2013 at Executive Caterers at Landerhaven. You can view the presentation here.The initiative will preserve working farms, forests, wildlife areas and waters in the face of the largest external force we have ever encountered. After two years of study, the Land Conservancy has determined that a plan based on collaboration among forward-thinking conservation, economic, political, oil and gas and other representatives has the best chance of succeeding. Cochran urged all those interested in the region and its natural resources to join in the conservation planning efforts.
January 25, 2013
The first comprehensive examination of land conservation in northern Ohio has determined that about 7 percent of the area, or 295,322 acres, in a 14-county region has been preserved – significantly less than the 10- to 15-percent level recommended by local experts. In addition, Common Ground: The regional land protection report for northern Ohio found that 5 percent of the region’s farmland is now protected, meaning that 95 percent of the existing agricultural land – property containing some of the world’s richest soils – could be lost to development.
The report was a collaborative effort by local land conservancies, park systems, community leaders, outdoor groups, soil and water conservation districts, property owners and nonprofit organizations. It was coordinated and funded by Western Reserve Land Conservancy, a Moreland Hills-based nonprofit, with additional support from the Alton F. and Carrie S. Davis Fund and the Sandra L. and Dennis B. Haslinger Family Foundation.
January 10, 2013
Land Conservancy merges with
Little Beaver Creek Land Foundation
Little Beaver Creek Land Foundation, a 20-year-old nonprofit that has worked to preserve the Little Beaver Creek watershed in Columbiana County, is merging with Western Reserve Land Conservancy, the state’s largest land trust.
Under terms of the merger, the Land Conservancy will assume responsibility for monitoring the approximately 184 acres currently protected by conservation easements held by LBCLF. In addition, LBCLF will be represented on the Land Conservancy’s board of trustees. The merger took effect Jan. 1.
January 3, 2013
Kathy Obert Hill joins
our leadership team
Kathy Obert Hill, who headed one of the region’s top public relations agencies for 10 years, has been appointed Chief Strategy and Engagement Officer for the nonprofit Land Conservancy. Obert Hill, who was board chair and chief executive officer of Edward Howard & Co. before negotiating the 2010 sale of the firm to Fahlgren Inc., will serve on the Land Conservancy’s executive team and oversee stakeholder engagement, including development, communications and marketing, government relations, education and events.
December 3, 2012
Streetsboro wetlands are
A 116-acre parcel containing high-quality wetlands and three rare species has been permanently preserved, thanks to a partnership between the city of Streetsboro, the Land Conservancy, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District. The action means the property, located on state Route 303, can never be developed. The city owns the parcel, which was formerly owned by the Verna Beck Trust, and will manage it as a nature preserve.
October 12, 2012
has a new home
A generous, unsolicited gift from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous has enabled the Land Conservancy to build a new campus and conservation center in Moreland Hills. The facility, which relocates the Land Conservancy’s headquarters from Chesterland, officially opens this week. About two-thirds of the Land Conservancy’s 35-member staff will be based in Moreland Hills, with the rest working from field offices in Cleveland, Akron, Oberlin, Medina, Painesville, Orwell and Orrville.
Located at 3850 Chagrin River Road, the project that created the Land Conservancy’s new home was part of a six-year, multi-phase land protection project that permanently preserved about 135 acres in Moreland Hills, creating beautiful, publicly accessible hiking trails and further extending Forest Ridge Preserve. A painstakingly restored (and recycled) 5,000-square-foot historic century home and newly constructed, environmentally-responsible 11,000-square-foot addition will now house the Land Conservancy’s main office.
October 2, 2012
Portage Co. landowners
can conmment on plan
Landowners with more than one acre of woods in northwest Portage County are invited to take a short survey toward the development of an area forestry strategy, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry. The public is also invited to review the draft plan and provide comments.
The broad-scale forest management plan will be designed to benefit landowners in several communities and townships in northwest Portage County, including Freedom, Hiram, Mantua and Shalersville townships and the communities of Aurora and Streetsboro. The Land Conservancy has been involved in a number of land-protection projects in this region.
Comments and the survey will be accepted through Oct. 31. The draft plan and survey are available online at http://ohiodnr.com/Default.aspx?tabid=24131 or by contacting Jason Van Houten at firstname.lastname@example.org or (614) 265-6703.
Sept. 8, 2012
New video debuts
at EverGreen EverBlue
The Land Conservancy unveiled its new video to guests at Saturday's annual EverGreen EverBlue benefit at Sandy and Claire McMillan's Mountain Glen Farm in Concord Township. The event raises funding and awareness for the organization. If you missed the debut of the video, you can watch it here.
June 7, 2012
Demolition grant info
is now available
Communities seeking demolition funding from the Ohio Attorney General's Moving Ohio Forward Grant Program can find information here on our Thriving Communities Institute website. Thriving Communities, which helps counties form land banks, hosted the first of two strategic planning workshops June 7 at Walsh University's Barrette Center in North Canton.
May 1, 2012
Scene Magazine is
media sponsor for
Scene Magazine has been named the official media sponsor for the Land Conservancy's third annual Conservation Rocks! concert on Friday, June 8 at at the Beachland Ballroom and Tavern in Cleveland. The concert features performers who also work locally in the field of conservation. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased through the Beachland's box office or the Land Conservancy.
March 28, 2012
viewed as a plus
for Stark County
The Canton Repository has published an in-depth story on how the fledgling Stark County Land Bank could help neighborhoods in Massillon, Canton and elsewhere by safely securing abandoned homes and vacant lots. Thriving Communities Institute has been working with Stark County officials to establish the land bank. You can read the story here.
March 22, 2012Demolition bonds
aim to prevent
'tsunami of blight'
Reporter Jennifer DePaul of The Bond Buyer has written a timely piece on a bill introduced by U.S. Reps. Steve LaTourette and Marcia Fudge that would provide $4 billion for states and land banks to issue demolition bonds to raze demolish vacant, foreclosed and abandoned homes across the country to prevent “a tsunami of blight.” Jim Rokakis, director of the Land Conservancy’s Thriving Communities Institute, helped craft the bill and is quoted in the story.
February 24, 2012
Conservation loses a
The passing of Dick Grimm, who died at his home on Wednesday night, is a huge loss for conservation community and our region. Mr. Grimm, a member of our Board of Trustees, was a friend and true leader. The entire Land Conservancy family is deeply saddened by his passing and extends its sympathy to his wife Sue and their family. President and CEO Rich Cochran described Mr. Grimm as “a transforming leader of the Land Conservancy. He was also an amazing husband, father, grandfather and friend. He was one of the best friends I have ever had.”
February 10, 2012
New hope for
December 19, 2011
Missed '60 Minutes'?
You can watch here
If you were unable to catch Jim Rokakis, director of the Land Conservancy’s Thriving Communities Institute, on "60 Minutes" on Sunday, you can view the full segment here. For additional video footage and interviews, click on "What's next for Cleveland?" "Foreclosures spread to suburbs" or "Foreclosure scavengers go high tech." For more information on Thriving Communities Institute, vist our new website at www.thrivingcommunitiesinstitute.org.