COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Franklin County’s land bank demolished more than 3,300 blighted residential units and funded or financed 350 homes for low to moderate-income families throughout the last decade, a new report shows. 

Since 2012, the Central Ohio Community Improvement Corporation has bolstered Franklin County by creating stable homes, reclaiming commercial property and restarting real estate markets in the area. A report by the Greater Ohio Policy Center tracks the organization’s work through the past 10 years. 

“We’re building the foundation for the future in some of these neighborhoods and communities,” said Curtiss Williams, president of COCIC. “If we didn’t tear down the building, if we didn’t remove the blight, there wouldn’t be an opportunity for new development.” 

In addition to demolishing 3,349 blighted units in 1,704 structures and funding 350 affordable homes, COCIC has reclaimed more than 205 acres of commercial property and facilitated the preservation or construction of 1,658 market-rate homes. COCIC also forged a path for the private sector to produce 138 market-rate residences and 1,648 apartment units. 

For every $1 COCIC spent on demolition, nearby home values increased $4.30, leading to $146 million in increased property values, the report said. For every $1 COCIC contributed to an affordable housing project, the developer leveraged $3.86 from other sources. 

“We are especially proud that 45% of COCIC’s interventions have occurred in areas that were formerly redlined, providing much-needed countermeasures that will allow residents to experience safer neighborhoods, improved housing quality, and rising property values, among other social and economic improvements,” said Williams. 

The report said that 65% of Franklin County townships and municipalities have benefited from COCIC, including repairing an owner-occupied home or constructing new housing. The organization’s work has preserved or increased property values by at least $320 million countywide. 

This map indicates COCIC activities in each jurisdiction from February 2012 to June 30, image by COCIC, GOPC and Urban Decision Group. (Courtesy Photo/Greater Ohio Policy Center)

Williams credits the organization’s success to local partnerships, including granting low-interest loans to non-profit housing organizations to construct affordable apartment units. 

“We were struck by how committed COCIC is to helping its partners succeed, whether that was helping a township administrator reposition a multi-acre gateway into their community or removing a house with black mold from a suburban subdivision,” said the report’s author, Alison Goebel of the Greater Ohio Policy Center.   

Moving into next year, Williams said COCIC would continue to invest in communities and expand into new neighborhoods to address central Ohio’s housing issues. The organization is also planning to fund duplexes, complete more commercial redevelopment and work alongside small businesses.

“There’s a number of folks who have the same interests in mind and the same mission in mind, and we find one way to come together and make a big difference,” said Williams.