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Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald Asks Council for $50 Million Demolition Fund

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at 9:56 PM

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Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald is moving ahead with a plan to put $50 million toward demolishing many of the thousands of abandoned houses left behind by the housing crisis.

FitzGerald says the county would raise the money by selling bonds and would then offer the funds up for cities and towns to decide which empty, dilapidated structures to raze.

Speaking with reporters outside a vacant house on Cleveland's west side, FitzGerald said the details of the plan were still being put together. But he argued the county can afford to start the new fund.

"We're seeing this as an investment that we're making," he said. "But the fact is, for instance, if this house is taken down, every house around here, their property values go up, and eventually, in the long run, I think the county does make its money back."

Joining FitzGerald were Prosecutor Timothy McGinty and housing advocates Frank Ford and Jim Rokakis, who have argued that demolishing the empty structures that litter Ohio will improve property values.

Tuesday night the plan went before Cuyahoga County council, where Cleveland city councilmen Jeff Johnson and Zack Reed asked that some of the funds be also be allowed for renovations.

There's no timeline yet for the plan's passage.

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