Ohio Land Bank Conference Sessions 2013

Tools & Policies to Transform Communities

Conference Session Descriptions


Funding Strategies in a Post-Recession Era

10:35 AM – 12:15 PM, Seneca Room

Now, more than ever, local governments and community organizations must utilize multiple funding streams to finance strategic redevelopment. Panelists will discuss how to think creatively about finding the resources to make investments that will catalyze neighborhoods back to functioning at market-rate.

Speakers: Kip Wahlers, Partner, Ice Miller (moderator); Nick Fedor, Economic Development Director, Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization; James R. Klein, President and Chief Executive Officer, Finance Fund; Dominic Marchionda, NYO Property Group; Kristi Tanner, Managing Director, JobsOhio; Scott Ziance, Partner, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP.

Intersection of State and Local Policy

Tuesday, 10:35 AM – 12:15 PM, Thurber Room

Policies can help or hinder local nonprofits, governments, and the private sector to effect community transformation; and policy solutions do not always reside at one level of government. In this session, panelists will discuss instances where working at the local level may be more effective, the interplay across state and local policies, and strategies for working in each context.

Speakers: Lavea Brachman, Executive Director, Greater Ohio Policy Center (moderator); Michael Brady, Vice President of Policy, Center for Community Progress; Frank Ford, Senior Policy Advisor, Thriving Communities Institute; Stephanie Moes, Attorney, Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio, LLC; Thea Walsh, Deputy Chief, Office of Redevelopment, Ohio Development Services Agency.

Land Bank 101: The Basics of Land Banking in Ohio

Tuesday, 10:35 AM – 12:15 PM, Neil House Parlor

This session is a presentation and question-and-answer session by the leadership and staff of the Lucas County Land Bank.  The session will details the mechanics of establishing an Ohio land reutilization corporation, abandoned and tax-foreclosed property acquisition processes, strategic demolition and rehabilitation opportunities, staffing and day-to-day operations
considerations, and the necessity for strong governmental and community partnerships.

Speakers:  Cindy Geronimo, Vice President and Director of Community Engagement, Lucas County Land Bank; David Mann, President, Lucas County Land Bank; Josh Murman, General
Counsel, Lucas County Land Bank.

Vacant Housing Surveys – Quantifying the Need for
Demolition and Rehabilitation

10:35 AM – 11:25 AM, Park Parlor

Limited funding for reduction of blight within our cities requires a strategic approach to demolition and rehabilitation within neighborhoods.  The first step is an accurate inventory of the housing stock – including occupancy status and condition of the property.   Thriving Communities Institute received a grant from The Nord Family Foundation to conduct a property survey in the City of Lorain.  This session discusses the planning, implementation and results of the Lorain Survey and how other municipalities could benefit from a property inventory.

Speakers:  Paul Boehnlein, GIS and Conservation Planning Specialist, Western Reserve Land Conservancy; Chase Ritenauer, Mayor, City of Lorain; Sarah Ryzner, Director of Projects, Thriving Communities Institute.

Habitat for Humanity – A New Urban Model

11:35 AM – 12:25 PM, Neil House Parlor

Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity is moving from building houses to building communities. Now focusing on rehabilitation rather than building new homes, Habitat works in partnership with community development groups and the county land bank to restore a sense of community to neighborhoods plagued by zombie properties.

Speaker: John Habat, Executive Director, Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity.

Capitalizing on Population Shifts to Revitalize Our Communities

Tuesday, 2:00 PM – 3:40 PM, Seneca Room

This session explores how communities can capitalize on the preferences of Generation Y or Millennials and baby boomers, which lean toward walkable communities, easy accessibility to work and recreation, and common areas where they can congregate with peers. Ohio developers, researchers, and philanthropists will discuss the successes and challenges that are emerging from their efforts to create walkable neighborhoods in Ohio’s urban cores.

Speakers: Nate Coffman, Executive Director, Ohio CDC Association (moderator); Lois J Fisher, Owner, Lois J Fisher & Associates; Jung Kim, Research Director, Columbus Chamber of Commerce, Columbus 2020; John Mitterholzer, Senior Program Officer, George Gund Foundation; Aaron Pechota, Vice President of Development, NRP Group LLC.

Mobilizing a Policy Vision for Ohio’s Mid-Sized Communities

Tuesday, 2:00 PM – 3:40 PM,
Thurber Room

While many policies and practices apply across the state of Ohio, there are some unique challenges and solutions for our small-to-medium sized cities. This session will offer opportunities to attendees to define a vision for Ohio’s smaller communities. Together, panelists and attendees will outline an agenda for organizing, and discuss strategies for mobilizing political will to get systems in sync, at the local, regional and state level.

Speakers: Bonnie Blankenship, Senior Policy Analyst, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland; Alison Goebel, Associate Director, Greater Ohio Policy Center (moderators); Gary Davenport, Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative; Cheryl Subler, Managing Director, Policy, County Commissioners Association of Ohio; Lou Tisler, Executive Director, Neighborhood Housing
Services of Greater Cleveland; Deanna West-Torrence, Executive Director, Mansfield North End Community Improvement Collaborative.

Rebuilding Together:  Forging Strategic Partnerships to Stabilize Neighborhoods

Tuesday, 2:00
PM – 2:50 PM, Neil House Parlor

Ohio’s smaller municipalities have suffered many of the same issues related to vacancy and
abandonment as larger cities, but have even fewer resources to address the destabilizing effects.  The City of South Euclid has established unique partnerships with the Cuyahoga Land Bank, local educational institutions, and businesses to achieve dramatic results.  The city has also leveraged strategic code enforcement initiatives, grass roots community organizing, and
the establishment of a community development corporation to stabilize neighborhoods and attract new residents, all without the investment of general fund dollars.

Speaker:  Sally Martin, Housing Manager, City of South Euclid.

Demolition A to Z

Tuesday, 2:00
PM – 2:50 PM, Park Parlor

The process of demolishing structures (either residential or commercial) requires far more attention to detail than the average community ever thought necessary.  All levels of governments will be involved in your work. From local governments you will need the issuance of water, sewer, and other utility permits or disconnects.  From state and federal government
approval on environmental issues such as asbestos and other hazards that must be evaluated and remediated or abated.  In this session we will review everything we have learned from the initial assessment to the guidelines for post demolition site conditions.

Speaker:  Cheryl Stevens, Director of Acquisition, Disposition and Development, Cuyahoga Land Bank.

Good Bones:  Rehabilitation, not Demolition

Tuesday, 3:00
PM – 3:50 PM, Neil House Parlor

County land banks can play a significant role in revitalizing neighborhoods through
rehabilitation of certain vacant and abandoned properties.  This session will discuss evaluating properties and establishing criteria for rehabilitation; developing partnerships with local contractors, community organizations, local governments and individuals looking for “handyman specials”; structuring deals from straight transfers to deed-in-escrow programs; and other elements of the rehab process.

Speaker:  Dennis Roberts, Director of Programs and Property Management, Cuyahoga Land Bank.

Re-Imagining Rehab: A Modest Rehab Program for Vacant

Tuesday, 3:00
PM – 3:50 PM, Park Parlor

This session focuses on Slavic Village Development’s Neighbors Invest in Broadway program, a
for-sale modest rehab program that has been developed to take advantage of free or low cost vacant homes and the buyers’ own resources, including sweat equity, to get homes rehabbed and occupied with an affordable scope of work with no public subsidy.  The strategy will be reviewed in detail, including property acquisition, application process, scope of work, transfer,
agency protections, results, and lessons learned. This strategy is particularly effective in combination with a County Land Bank.

Speakers:  Marie Kittredge, Executive Director, Slavic Village Development; Stacia Pugh, Housing Development Officer, Slavic Village Development.

Community Roundtables

Tuesday, 4:00
PM – 4:50 PM, Seneca Room

Join other Ohioans in sharing projects underway and identifying needed solutions in overcoming the challenge of vacant property long-term. Joel Owens and Maureen Austin of Community Building Partnership of Stark County, Inc. will facilitate discussion among attendees regarding tools, programs, or policies that assist community leaders in their
current work, or potential programs that they wish were in place in Ohio. Together attendees will exchange ideas, current practices, barriers, and solutions.

Facilitators:  Maureen Austin, Healthy Neighborhoods Coordinator, Community Building Partnership of Stark County, Inc. and Joel Owens, Director, Community Building Partnership of Stark County, Inc.

The Neighborhood Initiative Program: Using Hardest Hit Funds for

Tuesday, 4:00 PM – 4:50 PM, Thurber Parlor

This session will assist potential applicants in understanding the Neighborhood Initiative Program (NIP) and will provide a forum for questions and answers on the draft Program Guidelines, which will be available before the Ohio Revitalizing Vacant Properties Conference.  This session is for county land bank officials or local entities that have signed cooperative agreements with established land banks for the administration of the Neighborhood Initiative
Program (NIP).

Speaker: Cynthia Flaherty, Director of Homeownership, Ohio Housing Finance Agency.

How the Principles of Brand Marketing and Place-making are Being Used to Revitalize a Dying Neighborhood

Tuesday, 4:00
PM – 4:50 PM, Neil House Parlor

This session will discuss a program currently being implemented by the Trumbull 100, Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership and gregg’s gardens, to revitalize Warren’s central city residential neighborhoods.

Speakers: Dennis Blank, Publisher, warrenexpressed.org and Volunteer Coordinator of gregg’s gardens; Matt Martin, Director, Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership.

Urban Agriculture: Vacant to Vibrant

Tuesday, 4:00 PM – 4:50 PM, Park Parlor

In 2009, the “Vacant to Vibrant Urban Agriculture Project” was started as a partnership
between the City of Dayton and OSU Extension Montgomery County to pilot economically sustainable urban agriculture practices on many of Dayton’s 6,000 vacant lots.  The goals of the project were to bring fresh produce to inner-city Dayton families; to promote economic self-sufficiency; and to reuse vacant, abandoned land.  Each of the pilot project lots required different management and production techniques. This presentation will explore a case study of the “Vacant to Vibrant Urban Agriculture Project” as well as the different methods used to grow local produce throughout the life of the project, as well as OSU Extension research related to these methods.

Speakers: Brad Bergefurd, The Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC); Suzanne Mills-Wasniak, Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, The Ohio State University Extension Montgomery County;
Kristen Nix, Marketing & Outreach, Filtrexx International LLC.


Redefining Redevelopment

Wednesday, 8:25 AM – 9:25 AM,

As resources are strained and increasingly more difficult to access, it is critical that we think strategically about how we use funding and tools effectively for the greatest long-term impact. In this joint plenary session, panelists will consider how decisions such as acquiring properties, using demolition dollars, and prioritizing investment impact the larger regional fabric, and will explore the critical role of a master plan in guiding such decisions.

Speakers: Alan Mallach, Senior Fellow, Center for Community Progress (moderator); David Boehlke, Senior Associate, czb, LLC; Paula Boggs-Muething, Vice President of Community Revitalization and General Counsel, Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority; Terry Schwarz, Director, Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, Kent State University.

Investing in Community Change

Wednesday, 9:35 AM – 11:15 AM,
Seneca Room

Community foundations, anchor institutions, and financial institutions are increasingly investing in neighborhood revitalization activities. Learn how these leaders are spearheading the revitalization and regrowth of Ohio’s urban core neighborhoods.

Speakers: Joel Ratner, President & CEO, Neighborhood Progress, Inc. (moderator); Angela Mingo, Director, Nationwide Children’s Hospital; Peg Moertl, Senior Vice President, PNC; Michael Wilkos, Senior Community Research and Grants Management Officer, The Columbus Foundation.

Innovative Paradigms from Across the State

Wednesday, 9:35
AM – 11:15 AM, Thurber Room

Across Ohio, cities are testing new and creative paradigms to address vacant property challenges. Panelists will showcase different angles of development in Dayton, Cleveland, Columbus, and Canton, such as greening strategies, utilizing anchor institutions, establishing an arts district, and prioritizing neighborhood investment.

Speakers: Lavea Brachman, Executive Director, Greater Ohio Policy Center (moderator); Robb Hankins, President and CEO, Stark County Arts Council; Jenita McGowan, Chief of Sustainability, City of Cleveland; Erin Prosser, Director of Community Relations, Campus Partners, The Ohio State University; Aaron K. Sorrell, AICP, Director, Department of Planning and Community Development, City of Dayton, Ohio.

Creative Ideas for Recovering Demolition and Nuisance Abatement Costs

9:35 AM – 10:25 AM, Neil House Parlor

As communities across Ohio face mounting blight from vacant properties, they struggle with
finding the resources to pay for demolition and nuisance abatement. This interactive session will discuss creative legal and legislative strategies that municipalities are currently using to recover these costs, including foreclosure bond ordinances, vacant property ordinances, and civil litigation.

Speakers: Frank Ford, Senior Policy Advisor, Thriving Communities Institute; Gary Davenport, Organizer, Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative.

Targeting Resources to Redevelop Neighborhoods – the Slavic Village Model, Park Parlor

9:35 AM – 10:25 AM

Like many communities that were hit hard by the foreclosure crisis, Slavic Village in southeast Cleveland has experienced widespread vacancy leading to plummeting property values. To restore the vibrancy that this neighborhood once experienced, partners came together to target resources and align expertise to make it an attractive, healthy neighborhood for residents again. Civic minded private corporations, local community development corporations, city officials and the land bank are joining to analyze data and look for opportunities from mortgage servicers as well as offering current residents technical assistance and low-interest loans to improve their properties and maintain home ownership.

Speakers:  Justin Fleming, Director of Real Estate, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress; Robert
Klein, President, Safeguard Properties; Jeff Raig, Project Director, Slavic Village Recovery, LLC.

Funding, Funding, Funding

Wednesday, 10:35 AM – 11:25 AM, Neil House Parlor

We all have great ideas to catalyze revitalization in our communities, but often lack adequate
resources to carry them out. Learn from an experienced, on the ground practitioner how to layer financial resources from multiple sources for a variety of projects, from grassroots community workdays to more sophisticated neighborhood revitalization efforts. Funding opportunities covered will include federal, state, local, foundation, bank, corporate, individual, and regional sources. Get the funding!

Speakers:  Ian Beniston, Deputy Director, Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation (YNDC).

Recycling Construction & Demolition Debris: Turning Your Blight into a Valuable Resource

Wednesday, 10:35 AM – 11:25 AM, Park Parlor

We are all well aware of the problems associated with the challenge of demolishing vacant
structures.  Not enough money, shrinking landfill space, post-demolition vacant lots that more closely resemble the moon than a lawn.  Learn how Cleveland and Cuyahoga County are tackling these problems by using a process that sorts and recovers over 85% of the C&D waste stream.   By locating a Municipal Recycling Facility (MRF) closer to demolition sites, costs are lowered as haul distances are greatly shortened.  Road congestion and pollution are reduced, inner city jobs are created.  To improve the end result, an environmentally appropriate backfill is provided so contractors can backhaul a quality fill to the demolition site.   This reduces extra trips, costs and congestion and results in lots that support healthy lawns, as well as improving
the rainfall capacity of the soil.

Speakers:  John Kurtz, President, Kurtz Bros. Inc.; John Ziss, Controller, Kurtz Bros Inc.

Aligning Financial Institutions and Community Development Goals

Wednesday, 1:00 PM – 2:40  PM, Seneca Room

Financial institutions and community development advocates share greater common interests in advancing vacant and abandoned properties redevelopment than it might first appear. In
this session, representatives from Ohio’s largest banks will discuss with community developers how their work intersects through new programs and philanthropic commitments.

Speakers: Lisa Patt-McDaniel, Director of Community Development, Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing (moderator); Sarabeth Anderson, Community Affairs Representative, Wells Fargo; Ryan Crowley, Head of Government and Community Partnerships, Chase Bank; Michael B. Griffin, Senior Vice President, Community Development Banking, KeyBank; Marie Kittredge, Executive Director, Slavic Village Development; Kathy Schwab, Executive Director, LISC Cincinnati.

Implementing Change through Research

Wednesday, 1:00 PM – 2:40  PM, Thurber Room

Research is assisting community leaders to be effective change agents that will lead to Ohio’s
transformation. This session offers an overview of several major projects that organizations around the state have undertaken that have informed transformational changes in Ohio’s urban areas including research on brownfield redevelopment, neighborhood investment, renovation as an alternative to demolition, and business development.

Speakers: Dawn Tyler Lee, Senior Vice President, Community Impact, United Way of Central Ohio (moderator); Frank Ford, Senior Policy Advisor, Thriving Communities Institute; Bill LaFayette, Owner, Regionomics; WIlliam Lutz, Development Program Manager, City of Piqua, Ohio; Jeff Rexhausen, Senior Research Associate, Economics Center.

Clustering Vacant Properties for Greater Community Impact

Wednesday, 1:00 PM – 1:50 PM, Neil House Parlor

Greening and stabilization strategies for individual vacant lots can enhance the curb appeal of a neighborhood and ease the concerns of adjacent property owners. But to have city-wide impact, you’ll need to look at larger agglomerations of vacant sites. This session will focus on planning and design approaches for creating networks of vacant sites that enhance surrounding property values, offer recreational opportunities, provide ecological benefits,
and preserve opportunities for future development. The session will also include an approach to classifying different kinds of vacancy and tailoring a response based on prevailing conditions.

Speaker:  Terry Schwarz, Director, Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, Kent State University.

Prove It!  What are the Impacts of Residential Demolition?

1:00 PM – 1:50 PM, Park Parlor

Following the foreclosure crisis, federal funds became available to prevent further foreclosures. Although program activities such as rescue payments, mortgage payment assistance, mortgage modification and mortgage counseling became available, very little money was allotted to remove the vacant and abandoned homes the crisis left behind. The Department of Treasury and White House advisors issued a challenge – prove that demolition
reduces foreclosure, and allocated funding may be repurposed for blight removal. Research on the impact of demolition on surrounding property values and foreclosure risk has been underway for the past 8 months. This session will provide the study’s latest findings.

Speakers:  Nigel Griswold, Principal, Griswold Consulting Group; Ed Herman, Attorney and
Counselor at Law, Herman Law Group, LLC;  Jim Rokakis, Director, Thriving Communities Institute; Michael Schramm, Research Associate, Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development, Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Case Western Reserve University.

Getting It Started – The Foundry Project

2:00 PM – 2:50 PM, Neil House Parlor

Imagine repurposing a closed gray-iron foundry in Cleveland’s inner city as a “sustainable farm in the City”. The goal of The Foundry Project team is the creation of an integrated, collaborative, public-private commercial venture that combines different product lines in such a manner that they complement and benefit each other.   Raising farmed-fish, shrimp, fruits and vegetables; a data-server farm; vermiculture for composting, a farmer’s market and healthy cooking classes all serve as building blocks to create over 100 new jobs and encourage a healthy lifestyle in the city.  Opportunities for other supporting related businesses are limitless.   This session will cover the process of imagining a project, then moving it forward toward reality.  This story is not yet finished, but the process involved, the successes and pitfalls, will provide a concrete lesson for those working to re-imagine our cities.

Speaker:  J Shorey, President of ProActive Strategies, Inc. and President and CEO of The Foundry Project.

Data Systems for Efficient Land Banks

2:00 PM – 2:50 PM, Park Parlor

Learn how the Cuyahoga Land Bank uses data to make strategic decision and to track
its inventory. This session will talk about data for strategic planning through linking property level information across a variety of city, county and nonprofit silos in the Case Western Reserve University’s NEO CANDO property database. Examples of how the Cuyahoga Land Bank utilizes this tool to aid strategic decision-making will be presented. The speaker will highlight the functionality of the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s data system used for property and project management called the “Property Profile System”. Features of this system include automatic PDF document generation, photo management, a dynamic link to the NEO CANDO property database, data exchange with finance system, task assignments and scheduling,
and email ticklers. Modules have been developed to automate data tasks related to pre-acquisition property assessments, demolition specifications, asbestos surveys, proceed
orders, property maintenance, land affidavits for tax foreclosure, and public website content.

Speaker:  Michael Schramm, Director of Information Technology and Research, Cuyahoga Land Bank.