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SOUTH CUMMINSVILLE  Saturday at a public meeting hosted by Communities United For Action (CUFA), Ed Cunningham, Cincinnati’s Manager of Property Maintenance Code Enforcement Division, pledged to work with CUFA to help neighborhoods get rid of their most problematic vacant buildings and expressed interest in developing new tools for getting rid of blight in Cincinnati’s neighborhoods.

70 people attended a public meeting where Cunningham committed to develop a system to help building inspectors focus on the worst vacant buildings, as prioritized by neighborhood residents.  Neighborhoods will report their priorities to CUFA which will monitor the progress made by the Code Enforcement Division.

While details for the system have to be worked out, the neighborhood leaders in the room were very positive about the development.  “We are thrilled that Mr. Cunningham is willing to work with CUFA and Cincinnati’s neighborhoods to set the priorities for vacant buildings,” said CUFA president Marilyn Evans.  “We think this process will go a long way to getting rid of some of the worst buildings in our communities.”

CUFA and the City have a history of working together to address vacant buildings, including the Vacant Foreclosed Residential Property Ordinance which was adopted city-wide in March of 2014.  The Ordinance requires loan servicers in charge of vacant, foreclosed properties to register at the time of foreclosure and to maintain the property.  “Thanks to CUFA’s work, we’re addressing vacant buildings through the Vacant Foreclosed Residential Property Ordinance,” said Cunningham.  “We have a 94% success rate at finding the responsible parties.  Now, thanks to (CUFA’s) help, there’s oversight on these servicers.”  Cunningham also thanked CUFA for educating communities about how to use the Ordinance and the City’s website tracking vacant foreclosed properties.

CUFA members voiced their concern about the “hundreds” of vacant properties that aren’t addressed by the Vacant Foreclosed Residential Property Ordinance and about the blight caused by vacant buildings with no clearly identified owner to hold accountable.  Cunningham said a task force is addressing these issues.  CUFA is interested in a solution that will:

  • Identify the owners
  • Hold the owners accountable
  • Clean up the blight
  • Encourage more resident ownership of formerly-blighted properties

“We think that owners should be held accountable, and if they aren’t going to take care of their buildings, the property should be given to someone who will,” said Evans.

Send CUFA your top 5 vacant property concerns! Click here for more information.

For more pictures from the meeting, visit our Facebook page.