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Clermont County now has a land bank to fix up rundown properties

Ann Thompson
Properties lank banks acquire can be bulldozed or rehabbed.

Clermont County now has a land bank to acquire dilapidated properties and either fix them up or build something new.

Director of Community and Economic Development Michael McNamara had been thinking this could be a good option. As a former Butler County employee, he worked to fix up areas of Middletown and Hamilton with that county’s land bank.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development defines a land bank as a governmental or nongovernmental nonprofit that works in a specific geographic area to purchase properties that have been foreclosed upon and facilitate redevelopment of those properties.

“We’ve produced studies in the past that have shown areas where the land bank has increased property values by 30% while also reducing the number of foreclosures in that area,” he says.

McNamara says the land bank will not take properties from people who have been paying their taxes. “One of the things that I want to make clear is that the land bank does not exist to take people out of homes that are living in their homes," he says. "That’s not what this is about. This is about helping get properties where the taxpayer has stopped paying.”

He reached out to local governments in the county and asked them for a list of rundown buildings. They sent him 180 properties.

By the end of the year, McNamara hopes to meet with members of the board and determine priorities, so the county can “hit the ground running in 2022.”

With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.