The Portage County Land Bank facilitates the conversion of vacant, blighted, abandoned, and tax delinquent properties to productive use for the benefit of our community.
Returning Portage Properties to Productive Use
The Portage County Land Reutilization Corporation, or “land bank,” is a quasi-governmental nonprofit entity created by the Portage County Board of Commissioners in 2012 as a strategic response to the foreclosure crisis of 2008. The land bank seeks to work with cities, townships, villages, lenders, nonprofits, and individual property owners, in their effort to return blighted and vacant properties to productive use.
Land Bank Receives Auditor of State Award
The Portage County Land Reutilization Corporation, or Land Bank, received the Auditor of State Award from Dave Yost for a clean audit report. The Land Bank was one of five organizations awarded in the state.
The Auditor of State Award is presented to local governments and school districts upon the completion of a financial audit. Entities that receive the award meet the following criteria of a “clean” audit report:
- The entity must file timely financial reports with the Auditor of State’s office in accordance with GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles);
- The audit report does not contain any findings for recovery, material citations, material weaknesses, significant deficiencies, Single Audit findings or questioned costs;
- The entity’s management letter contains no comments related to:
• Questioned costs less than $10,000
• Lack of timely report submission
• Failure to obtain a timely Single Audit
• Findings for recovery less than $100
• Public meetings or public records
- No other financial or other concerns exist that involve eligible entity.
How a Land Bank in Ohio Helped Revitalize a Neighborhood by Renovating a Single Home
Source: REVITALIZATION: THE JOURNAL OF URBAN, RURAL & ENVIRONMENTAL RESILIENCE
Since its founding in 2012, the Portage County Land Bank—based in Ravenna, Ohio—has established itself as a strong force in the Portage County community.
In 2018, the Land Bank completed its first ARR project in Shalersville Township. The property was brought to the Land Bank’s attention by the Sheriff’s Department and local trustees, who wanted to see the property revitalized in order to benefit the surrounding neighborhood.
The Land Bank was able to acquire the property via tax foreclosure and to invest in its full rehabilitation. The property was then listed with a local real estate agent and sold in just a few days to a single-family property owner.
Neighborhood revitalization efforts normally require a large-scale, programmatic approach. But occasionally, the rehabilitation of a single problematic property can make all the difference. Such was the case here.
In an email to REVITALIZATION publisher Storm Cunningham, Brad Cromes, Portage County Treasurer, explained “This project was identified for us by the local Trustees and our County Sheriff as a problem drug house. By acquiring the parcel, fixing it up, and getting it to a new owner, we not only remediated the drug issue, but stabilized a block in a key neighborhood.”
The Portage County Land Bank is constantly seeking collaborations with Portage County communities. The land bank is prepared to work with each individual municipality within Portage County to acquire property, remove blight, and return land to productive use for the benefit of their community.
Municipality officials, or local political leaders who are concerned about tax delinquent blighted properties in their area should contact us.
To notify the land bank of a blighted property that you are interested in owning, please fill out the Property Request Form (PDF). The land bank can only intervene with properties that are tax delinquent. To determine if a property in your neighborhood is tax delinquent, visit the Portage County Auditor’s website. If a property is not delinquent, please contact your community’s local zoning agent.