Mahoning County Land Bank names Debora Flora executive director

Directors of Mahoning County Land Reutilization Corporation, also known as the Mahoning County Land Bank, have selected Debora Flora of Youngstown as the program’s executive director, effective July 16.

A not-for-profit corporation, the county land bank operates under new Ohio laws that streamline and economize the process of acquiring and clearing debts from vacant, abandoned, tax-delinquent properties. It is led by a nine-member board of directors with experience in the government, nonprofit and business sectors.

Flora will oversee the county land bank’s daily operations, including property transactions, policy implementation, personnel issues, grant writing and communications. Mahoning County Land Bank also is the lead entity in the Ohio Attorney General’s “Moving Ohio Forward” demolition grant program. The land bank and 12 communities will share $1.53 million in funding for demolition of blighted residential properties.

Flora has been executive director of Lien Forward Ohio Regional Council of Governments since April 2007. Lien Forward Ohio’s mission was to return vacant, abandoned, tax-delinquent land in Mahoning County to productive status. Lien Forward Ohio facilitated the transfers of more than 850 parcels to new, responsible owners; an additional 50 properties will transfer soon. Lien Forward Ohio also led a public-private partnership to remove blight and install green spaces along U.S. Route 422, a gateway to downtown Youngstown. As Lien Forward Ohio’s representative on the Youngstown-Mahoning County Vacant Property Initiative steering committee, Flora actively campaigned to expand the number of county land banks in Ohio. She assisted in organizing the Mahoning County Land Bank, created in February 2011.

“We are pleased to welcome Deb to our team,” said Daniel R. Yemma, Mahoning County Treasurer and chairman of the County Land Bank Board of Directors. “The board appreciates what she has already done to launch our program. Together, we will build a successful, effective land bank that will make a difference in Mahoning County.”

“It’s an honor to be the first executive director,” Flora said. “The county land bank is a great new tool to use in reducing the number of forgotten, neglected, unproductive properties in many communities. I’m thrilled to have a continuing role in community revitalization.”

© 2012 The Metro Monthly. All rights reserved.

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