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Land Bank in Toledo to Grow with Houses Repossession

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By : John Cutts    99 or more times read
A land bank in the Toledo area is expected to be created and to grow with houses repossession after Ohio legislators authorized the creation of a land banking scheme to acquire foreclosures and vacant properties in Lucas County for future resale, conversion or redevelopment.

According to Wade Kapszukiewicz, treasurer of Lucas County, the land bank scheme, which will soon be signed by Governor Ted Strickland, will allow 43 Ohio counties to establish Land Reutilization Corporations to acquire vacant houses and fix them for resale and to demolish blighted structures so the land can be prepared for development.

Kapszukiewicz said that all tax-foreclosed homes, land and buildings will be included in the Lucas County land bank. Properties foreclosed by lenders can also be included in the land bank if banks decide to sell their REOs to the county.

Lucas County will finance its land bank corporation partly with the proceeds of the one-percent interest increase it imposed on delinquent real estate taxes, expected to total to $1 million annually. It can also raise funds from several undertakings such as reselling acquired homes, applying for federal government grants and borrowing money from the county for the purchase of properties and rehab of houses repossession.

County treasurer Kapszukiewicz said that the land bank will be set up within the coming months and that about five to nine people will manage the land bank.

According to the Toledo Department of Neighborhoods, a total of 4,160 properties have been hit with foreclosure filings last year and 1,598 properties have been posted for sheriff’s sales.

County Commission Officer Tina Skeldon Wozniak said she supports the creation of a land bank because of the rising number of foreclosed properties. She added that through the land bank, vacant homes will be fixed and neighborhood blight will be prevented.

One of the homes that can enter the Lucas County land bank is the unit formerly owned by Peter Biata who has stopped paying his loan payments last year. He explained that he has spent $20,000 to repair the property when he bought it in 2006, but it has already deteriorated in value so he allowed it to go into foreclosure.

In February, more than 11,000 Ohio homes were hit with foreclosure postings, and more than 3,000 of these went into houses repossession. Ohio was ranked 12th among U.S. states with the highest foreclosure percentages.

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