In the News

We love to share stories of thriving communities in progress.

September 24, 2013

Cuyahoga Co. foreclosures may

hit 10-year low, study shows

Foreclosure filings are down significantly in Cuyahoga County and may reach a 10-year low if the trend continues through the end of 2013, according to a new report done by Frank Ford, Senior Policy Advisor for Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s Thriving Communities Institute. But in spite of this dramatic drop, foreclosures are still double the rate they were before the crisis began, the report said, and vacant and blighted properties are still at record-high levels, posing a major threat to the real estate market in the county.

This report looked at foreclosure and vacant property trends in Cuyahoga County between 1995 and Aug. 31, 2013, with an emphasis on the past six years since the foreclosure crisis peaked in 2007.  Based on current trends, the report provides an estimate of foreclosure counts at the end of 2013.

In the report, Ford states that “if this downward trend were to continue it could represent an opportunity for market stabilization, i.e., a slow-down of the incoming pipeline of new vacancy and blight could give Cleveland and its suburbs a chance to ‘catch-up’ and address the existing inventory of market-crippling blight. That would lead to the recovery of home values, and more importantly, the recovery of home equity which is the single largest asset for many struggling families in Cuyahoga County.”

You can read the full report here.



Walsh U.

June 7, 2012

Demolition grant info

is now available

Communities seeking demolition funding from the Ohio Attorney General's Moving Ohio Forward Grant Program can find information here on our Thriving Communities Institute website.  Thriving Communities, which helps counties form land banks, hosted the first of two strategic planning workshops June 7 at Walsh University's Barrette Center in North Canton.



April 5, 2012

Ohio's demolition efforts

featured on NPR show

National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" took a look at Ohio's efforts to start the reviatlization of our urban centers by demolishing vacant and abandoned homes. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who has authorized $75 million for demolition in the state, and Jim Rokakis of Thriving Communities Insitute are quoted in the piece, which you can access here.




March 28, 2012

Land bank viewed as

a plus for Stark County

The Canton Repository has published an in-depth story on how the fledgling Stark County Land Bank could help neighborhoods in Massillon, Canton and elsewhere by safely securing abandoned homes and vacant lots.  Thriving Communities Institute has been working with Stark County officials to establish the land bank.  You can read the story here.




March 26, 2012

Jim Rokakis interviewed in Montgomery County

Montgomery County, where the city of Dayton is located, is in the process of creating a land bank with the help of Jim Rokakis and Thriving Communities Institute. Public radio station WYSO, which covers the Miami Valley, interviewed Rokakis about his efforts in Dayton, a city that has been devastated by foreclosure and abandonment. Property values there have taken a $2 billion hit since 2008, costing local governments and schools more than $40 million annually. You can listen to the interview here.



December 27, 2011

Grant to help start Erie County land bankanna

A $40,000 grant from the Sandusky/Erie County Community Foundation and two partners – the Randolph J. and Estelle M. Dorn and Frost-Parker foundations – will be used to establish a county land bank, one designed to return vacant and foreclosed properties to productivity. The grant will help cover the cost of setting up the Erie County Land Reutilization Corporation, commonly referred to as a land bank.  Jim Rokakis, director of the Land Conservancy’s Thriving Communities Institute and a national expert on urban land revitalization, has been working closely with Erie County officials over the past few months to start a land bank.


Anna J. Oertel (pictured), executive director of the Sandusky/Erie County Community Foundation, said the organization is proud to be able to partner with the Dorn and Frost-Parker foundations to establish the land bank.

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December 17, 2011

Rokakis will appear on '60 Minutes' segment60

Jim Rokakis, director of the Land Conservancy’s Thriving Communities Institute and a nationally recognized expert on the housing foreclosure and vacancy crisis, is scheduled to appear on the Sunday, Dec. 18 episode of “60 Minutes,” which airs locally at 7 p.m. on CBS affiliate WOIO Channel 19 (after the Cleveland Browns-Arizona Cardinals game). Jim was interviewed by “60 Minutes” correspondent Scott Pelley for the segment, which is titled, “There Goes the Neighborhood.”  The report details how “recession-fueled foreclosures are causing extremely high vacancy rates in some neighborhoods, ruining the values of the occupied homes and forcing the demolitions of once valuable properties.” You can watch a preview of the segment here. This weekend, the Land Conservancy is also launching a new website dedicated to the work of Thriving Communities.  Visit the new site at

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