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Published: Wednesday, 9/1/2010

Land bank for Lucas County is approved

Lucas County commissioners voted 3-0 Tuesday to establish the Lucas County Land Reutilization Corp. to market vacant and abandoned properties.

Wade Kapszukiewicz, Lucas County treasurer, said the nonprofit entity probably will begin acquiring parcels for marketing and resale within weeks.

The agency is the second "active" land bank in the state, after Cuyahoga County's, and is modeled on a successful effort in Flint, Mich., to put abandoned properties back into productive use.

Mr. Kapszukiewicz said the corporation's revenue will come from increases in the interest rate charged on delinquent property taxes. And tax-foreclosed properties automatically will be made available to the land bank within 90 days rather than being disposed of through sheriff's auction, which can take two years.

The county treasurer foreclosed on 324 properties last year for nonpayment of taxes. The land bank also can accept other abandoned properties, including any of the approximately 900 belonging to the city of Toledo's "passive" land bank that was set up in the 1980s.

The land reutilization corporation is expected to have a budget of at least $1.5 million a year to assemble and market parcels with the aim of reducing the impact of foreclosed properties on neighborhoods.

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