City Prepares for Demolitions of Nuisance Properties
City officials say the recent agreement with the Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corp. will help pay for rehab and demolition of abandoned and vacant homes.
Expect a few more Lakewood nuisance properties to come tumbling down this spring.
As the ink dries on the recent agreement with the Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corp., city officials are preparing to rehabilitate — or tear down — properties that have been deemed a nuisance.
And with the federally subsidized "Land Bank," the city will have the financial muscle it needs to get the job done.
The agreement, approved at the last city council meeting, gives the Land Bank the authority to pay for demolition — or rehab — of abandoned and problematic buildings.
“We’re teeing up properties for them,” said Dru Siley, assistant director of development and planning for the city. “This is a good partnership for both parties.”
The Land Bank will assume control over nuisance properties — and quite often, the best solution is to demolish the buildings, Siley said.
That was the case with the demolition last month of the Highland Square Apartment building on W. 117th Street. The Land Bank paid for that demolition.
The city has already notified the Land Bank of three buildings slated for demolition: 2145 Halstead Avenue, 1635 Hopkins Avenue and 1549 Lakewood Avenue. Siley said the buildings will all be torn down by summer.
“These don’t have any chance to be rehabilitated, and they are problematic to the neighborhood,” he said, adding there could be more slated to be torn down soon.
At a recent council meeting, Ward 4 representative Mary Louise Madigan said she hopes the partnership will improve some of the neighborhoods in the city — including those set for demolition in her ward.
“If there’s an opportunity to reclaim (nuisance properties), we will do that,” she said. “We want to get rid of some of these nuisance properties. But this will be done following all of our codes and ordinances.”
The non-profit Land Bank receives federal stabilization money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development that it uses to demolish or rehabilitate nuisance properties.
“We know we have nuisance properties that need to be demolished,” said Siley. “The city has only so much money for these projects. So having a partner like that connects Lakewood to an additional funding stream to achieve those goals.”
Other properties — including nuisance properties on Newman and Coutant avenues — have been identified as possible demolitions.
The agreement with the Land Bank also fits in with the interim Mayor Michael Summers’ agenda to improve the city’s aging housing stock.
“This allows us to aggressively attack some of the nuisance properties in our community,” said Summers.
He said other initiatives — including stepping up inspections and distributing what he calls a Landlord Manual to owners of rental properties — will be launched soon.
“These will allow us to address some of the housing challenges in our community,” Summers said. “We are focusing on all these housing issues.