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Small Communities Big Challenges A 2013 Series on Problem Properties

Vacant and abandoned properties remain a major challenge facing municipalities across the region. To help get knowledge and resources to combat this problem into the hands of city officials, practitioners, and funders, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland has partnered with Greater Ohio Policy Center to host a series of events and webinars in 2013.

A February kick-off meeting in Cincinnati highlighted uses of data for more strategic community rebuilding efforts. Three one-hour webinars—to be held in April, June, and August—will showcase specific strategies local and regional government officials and community development organizations can use to help stabilize and restore Ohio neighborhoods. And a capstone event is scheduled for October in Columbus.

Sessions in this problem properties series are tailored to communities with populations of 60,000 and less—smaller communities that face revitalization challenges similar to their big-city brethren, but that lack the same resources as their larger counterparts. Participants will gain valuable insights on tools and strategies they might employ to tackle vacant property issues in their communities and regions.

Participation in the webinars is free, but registration for each session is required. Upon successfully registering for one, two, or all three webinars, you will receive a confirmation email with the webinar link, call-in number, and a calendar attachment with the link and call-in number included.

For more information contact Mary Helen Petrus at or at 216/579-2443.

Kick-off Meeting: Data-Driven Decision Making 
February 22, 2013
Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s Cincinnati Branch

Data-driven Decision Making” included presentations by Neighborhood Progress, Inc.’s Justin Fleming, program officer, and Frank Ford, senior vice president for research and development; Ronald O’Leary, assistant director, Department of Building and Housing, City of Cleveland; Paula Boggs Muething, vice president of real estate and general counsel, Hamilton County Land Bank; Kathy Schwab, executive director, LISC Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky; and Todd Portune, commissioner, Hamilton County Board of Commissioners.

The panelists discussed how to identify and acquire data pertinent to housing quality and community stability, how to analyze the data, and how to make data accessible for use by governmental agencies and non-profits. It also featured examples of how data are used for program and policy decisions.

Webinar 1: Beyond Triage
April 16, 2013, 2 to 3 pm EDT

This webinar will feature panelists from across Ohio, including:
• Sister Barbara Busch, Executive Director of Working in Neighborhoods (Cincinnati)
• Sally Martin, Housing Manager for South Euclid (a suburb of Cleveland)
• Joel Owens, Director of Community Building Partnership of Stark County

These experts will discuss the precursors of abandonment, and how working with area nonprofits can greatly assist smaller communities in their strategic deployment of resources to neighborhoods. The webinar will demonstrate how local governments and nonprofits together provide foreclosure prevention services and rehabilitation for blighted property. How can a municipality engage private investment in existing homes that require maintenance or rehabilitation? How can homeowners identify home repair resources? What are the avenues for nonprofits, local governments and private homeowners to access to capital for major rehabilitation?

Watch (1:03:32)

Webinar 2: Comprehensive Community Code Enforcement
June 18, 2013, 2 to 3 pm EDT

On June 18, panelists enlisted for “The Three Cs: Comprehensive Community Code Enforcement” will discuss how to develop and implement code enforcement strategies based on strategic community development and neighborhood priorities; the importance of collecting liens; using nuisance abatement powers more aggressively; engaging residents and nonprofits as the eyes and the ears of the community; and evaluating changes to state and local law/modernizing codes to better fit the community’s current condition.

Watch (51:00)

Webinar 3: It’s All About Clear Title: Acquiring Problem Properties
August 20, 2013, 2 to 3 pm EDT

“It’s all about clear title: acquiring problem properties” will address title search techniques; working with banks and understanding the foreclosure process; receivership; different mechanisms for acquiring problem properties.

Presentation (PDF)

Watch (57:33)

Capstone workshop
October 2013

The final capstone workshop will be presented in October at GOPC’s Second Annual Ohio Properties Redevelopment Institute. This session will offer opportunities to attendees to define a vision and agenda for organizing and mobilizing political will to get systems in synch, at the local, regional and state level. Date, specific location, and registration information to come.