LAND BANK PROGRAM
The Central Ohio Community Improvement Corporation (COCIC) is the Franklin County Land Reutilization Corporation
In 2012, I spearheaded the creation of the Franklin County Land Reutilization Corporation (or Land Bank) to tackle the problem of blighted, vacant, and tax-delinquent properties that decrease surrounding home values.
The Central Ohio Community Improvement Corporation (COCIC) serves as the County's land bank agency and is primarily funded from penalty and interest paid by delinquent taxpayers. The COCIC works with local and state partners, as well as private and non-profit agencies, to rehab or demolish blighted buildings with the goal of returning these properties to productive use. The COCIC's nine-member Board of Directors meets monthly and I serve as its chair.
For blighted properties that need to be demolished, there are two programs to assist with funding. First, through the COCIC, Franklin County was awarded an $8.2 million grant in 2012 from Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. The Moving Ohio Forward grant provides matching funds to be used for the demolition of vacant and abandoned residential buildings. These grant funds combined with demolition funds from the COCIC and City of Columbus have led to the removal of hundreds of blighted residential properties. As this program concludes in 2014, the land bank is also participating in a second demolition project funded by the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA), which is utilizing $60 million of federal Hardest Hit Funds (HHF) to assist with the demolition of vacant homes through 2015. OHFA's Neighborhood Initiative Program is intended to stem the decline in home values and prevent future foreclosures of existing homeowners in communities affected negatively by vacant and abandoned properties.
The COCIC is working with local officials to review and identify vacant and abandoned properties that could qualify for demolition. If you know of a property you believe should be reviewed by the County's land bank, please visit the COCIC website.
To qualify for a land bank foreclosure, the property must be both 1) tax delinquent and 2) vacant and abandoned. All requests submitted will be forwarded to the COCIC for review. The land bank will work to leverage its impact and maximize the number of foreclosures initiated after it identifies and prioritizes qualifying properties.
Franklin County Treasurer
Chairman, Franklin County Land Bank