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Neighborhood Investment Works

August 31, 2020 Announcements

On the 10th birthday of the Land Bank, leaders gathered to make a big announcement.

1,500 days earlier, the Land Bank had committed to the largest single neighborhood investment in local history: renovating or demolishing 1,500 properties in 1,500 days. It wasn't the first time a community had had this idea, but it was ambitious enough to be uniquely ours.

Proudly, this goal was met and then very much exceeded. 437 properties renovated and 2,001 demolished in that time. A grand total of 2,438.

"That's not just 1 property a day every day - it is almost 2 every day for the last four years. More than simply numbers, every project mattered to the residents and neighbors who live nearby, took it over, or made it their home," said David Mann, President and CEO.

One property not even counted in the goal was the property the event was held at - a home on Collins Street in the Old West End that is currently being renovated by the Land Bank. Soon, the Land Bank will finish its work restoring this classic property built in 1912 and will market it for sale to new homeowners.

To accomplish this feat, the Land Bank leveraged over $50 million of public and private investment, including an investment of over $29 million from the U.S. Department of Treasury's Hardest Hit Funds program. Officials present at the news conference - specially adapted to the pandemic emergency - applauded the Land Bank's efforts but implored state and federal leaders to send additional dollars to local communities for neighborhood investment.

Lucas County Treasurer Lindsay Webb, who is also the Chair of the Land Bank's Board, recounted that she was recently stopped by a firefighter who pleaded with her to tear down a dangerous home before it became a target for arson.

"We promised 1,500 homes in 1,500 days, and we certainly exceeded that. But other houses have gone into disrepair, and those calls still go into the Land Bank," she said.

"This project has set the tone to say that communities like ours can really deliver. This is a program that works and we need our federal and state partners to continue to help us out."

Others at the event spoke to the Land Bank's deep commitment to neighborhoods.

"The heart and soul of the Land Bank is where we are today. It's when a home that at one point could have been on the demo list is saved. A family is going to live here and bring it back to life," said Lucas County Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak.

Likewise, Board Member Taylor Burciaga, Executive Director of the Sofia Quintero Art and Cultural Center, reminded all that the Land Bank is more than just demolition. "It's about people - neighbors to neighbors, neighbors to resources, neighbors to help. I encourage everyone to learn more about how the Land Bank can help you make your own neighborhood goals come true."

Wade Kapszukiewicz, Mayor of Toledo and a founding member of the Land Bank, set a high bar for the Land Bank's future work building neighborhoods.

"This agency is the best in the city in terms of work product, efficiency, and results. If there is a better land bank in the United States, I certainly don't know what it is," he said.

"I am sure that I'm not alone in being excited about what they do next."

See local news coverage of the event