Toledoans – striving for a better community
Community members of all ages realize that everything they need to succeed is right here. Who are the movers and shapers of Toledo culture? We asked Toledoans, from business owners to educators and professionals, to tell us who is really moving the community forward. Here is our list of ten progressive thinkers working towards a better future – a better Toledo.
Chairman Land Bank Lucas County Treasurer
owners in Lucas County see the name Wade Pbill.roperty Kapszukiewicz at the top left corner of their real estate tax This lifelong Toledoan, however, deserves a “thank you”
for the innovative ideas he has brought to the otherwise mundane duties as Lucas County Treasurer. Since 2005, when he first took office, he has changed Ohio Law, allowing for the creation of the Lucas County Land Bank, which incorporated in 2010, with Wade serving as chairman. Inspired by a similar program in Cleveland, the Land Bank buys tax delinquent properties more quickly than a city otherwise could, and sells these blighted properties to enterprising people at greatly decreased rates—Cleveland’s Land Bank was tremendously successful at cleaning up deteriorating blocks, and may have something to do with decreasing crime in those areas. The Lucas County Land Bank will do the same here. Per Kapszukiewicz, the goal of the Land Bank is “to stabilize and rebuild neighborhoods by eliminating blight, and in the process raise property values for homeowners”. 1,200 properties have been acquired and repurposed since the Bank’s inception. “Everything we do, whether it’s a demolition, rehab, or greenspace,” Wade says, “it’s all done with the overall goal of strengthening neighborhoods and putting value back into people’s homes so that they can pursue their dreams.” This program has been so successful over the last three years that the entity is now working on stabilizing historic structures. In July 2013, the land bank acquired the Pythian Castle adjacent to the Greyhound station on Jefferson Avenue, downtown, and now contractors are determining the best way to revitalize the building. In October, a blighted former nursing home on Cherry Street was demolished by the land bank with Ohio Arbors Holdings planning to invest in converting the space into an arboretum. Currently, the Nicholas and Spitzer buildings are being considered for acquisition. When asked what inspires him to make Toledo a better place, Wade replied “There’s a real ability with creativity and vision to create whatever Toledo we want. Enough communities have reinvented themselves with the assets that they have and Toledo can do it too.” —MP For more information visit co.lucas.oh.us
January 15, 2014