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Land Bank Cashes In

The nationally recognized program of the Cuyahoga County Land Bank has already taken control of more than 800 dilapidated or abandoned houses.

Now, an agreement with Bank of America, and Wells Fargo Home Mortgage allows the Land Bank to acquire 126 more properties and either rehabilitate or demolish them.

Land Bank President Gus Frangos says the agreement to transfer ownership makes sense.

"It's a good collaboration here because they give the money, they get it off their books, they don't have to pay the taxes, they don't have to find themselves in housing court. So it's a win for them... but it's also a win for the neighborhood."

The 26 properties from Wells Fargo and 100 houses donated by Bank of America are scattered across Cleveland, and some inner ring suburbs. Each bank will turn over not just deeds to selected foreclosed houses, but add 75-hundred dollars, per property, for demolition costs.

Frangos says that fee was critical to accepting the properties, because it costs about that much to remove blighted or dangerous buildings, making the lots available for sale or rebuilding.

The contracts add the new partner banks to existing deals with JP Morgan Chase, the department of Housing and Development, and Fannie Mae.

Local land bank creators are also working with the city of Dayton, which has begun talks with banks to create a similar program there.

Rick Jackson, 90.3.

Rick Jackson is a senior host and producer at Ideastream Public Media. He hosts the "Sound of Ideas" on WKSU and "NewsDepth" on WVIZ.