The Latest in Cleveland's Fight Against Blight

Cities are exploring varied approaches to dealing with vacant and blighted properties, and better layering of data has been seen as key

By Brady Dale
Next City

Last October, Ohio’s Cuyahoga County Council approved a $50 million demolition bond, much of it earmarked for dealing with Cleveland’s condemned homes.

“The City of Cleveland is an aged city. Like all cities of our age, we’ve had our periods of growth and periods of decline,” says Tom Vanover, chief of the Building and Housing department. He says a lack of funding has slowed the demolition process. With the new bond, hopefully the city can make a bigger dent in its blight problem.

One thing’s for sure: Bureaucracy should be less of an impediment, thanks to the city’s efficient demolition tracking system from Accela, a cloud-based government software company.

When dealing with blighted properties, most cities have a standard checklist to make sure they have done everything they must before swinging the wrecking ball. Accela’s Rob Cassetti says they received a lot of interest from other cities after presenting their Cleveland work at a 2014 Conference of Mayors meeting. Cities are exploring varied approaches to dealing with vacant and blighted properties, and better layering of data has been seen as key in cities like Chicago and Philadelphia.

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