Land Bank 101

What We Do

​The Land Bank acquires vacant, blighted, abandoned, and tax delinquent properties in Portage County primarily through tax-foreclosure in an effort to return them back to productive use.  Our work is often done in partnership with local political jurisdictions, non-profit organizations, real estate investors, or other stakeholders. When an improved property is acquired, it is further assessed to determine its suitability for rehabilitation. Properties are renovated to a high-quality standard and then put back on the tax rolls where they become productive presences in neighborhoods, and positive contributors to property values in the local real estate market area. In cases where vacant land is acquired, or when demolition is necessary, the Land Bank seeks to redevelop properties as part of our various policies, and through collaborative efforts with various local and State partners.

How a Community Benefits from a Land Bank 

Neglected properties often become costly responsibilities to the local community. Local governments, residents, and property owners all shoulder the burden of vacant and abandoned buildings. These burdens include increased safety hazards, crime, property maintenance issues, and a decline in surrounding property values. When a Land Bank acquires a property, it creates a ripple effect of positive change throughout the community. The positive effects include improved neighborhood aesthetics, increased safety, reduced crime, enhanced property values, and a boost in tax revenue for the organizations who rely on it. A land bank is a win-win for communities — we not only address the immediate problems of vacant properties but also lay the groundwork for a brighter future.

How We Operate

The Land Bank is governed by a five (5) member Board of Directors and has an Executive Director who oversees the day-to-day operations of the organization. Official meetings of the Board of Directors are held on a quarterly basis. The PCLRC is primarily supported by DTAC funds (penalty and interest revenue from delinquent real estate taxes). Other funding sources include grants, sale of acquired property and donations. The land bank does not receive money from the Portage County general revenue fund. 

“The costs of dealing with vacant and abandoned properties fall mainly to local governments, which are often unable to break the cycle of foreclosure to abandonment to blight. They are thwarted by heavy costs, the lack of a timely legal mechanism to acquire properties, liability concerns, and no overarching strategy to address the problems at a regional level. Land Banks provide that mechanism.” 

-Breaking the Housing Crisis Cycle: Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, 2008, pg. 18)