When the Hamilton County Landbank (Landbank) acquires a property, it is almost always vacant and severely blighted and usually has been for many years. The majority are dangerous and eyesores to their neighborhoods – often, the Landbank is contacted by neighbors or the community development corporation (CDC) because they want something to happen with the property. The Landbank was established in 2012 by Hamilton County under the Ohio Revised Code to create a mechanism for communities to deal with vacant and abandoned property after the Great Recession and foreclosure crisis.
"The Landbank is a property owner of last resort. We take on the worst of the worst properties and reposition them for new use. Our focus is to return vacant properties to productive use through our six disposition programs," said Jessica Powell, Vice President of the Hamilton County Landbank. "Our goal is to safely maintain the properties we acquire and to mitigate their blighted conditions until they are demolished, stabilized, or disposed to a new organization or owner."
What happens after the Landbank acquires a property?
Ron Shouse, Real Estate Facilities Manager for The Port and Landbank, evaluates each property and enters it into our database for tracking. The Landbank then assigns each property to a contractor who will cut the grass and email photos to the Landbank. If a property has a building or home on it, the Landbank secures windows and doors within 48 hours with plywood and padlocks.
Ron visits the property soon after and shares Landbank literature, which explains the organization and has contact information, with neighboring property owners. "We want to be good neighbors to the people living next to our properties," shared Ron. "Our goal is to keep these properties safe and prevent anyone, especially children, from entering them as well as to prohibit criminal activity."
All shrubbery is removed from properties because it increases the visibility of the property. "Shrubbery can hide squatters and often leads to an increase in trash and dumping," adds Ron.