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Akron, Ohio

Mayor Horrigan Introduces Vacant Building Registration Program to Address Blighted Commercial Buildings in Akron Neighborhoods

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City of Akron Press Release
From the desk of Ellen Lander Nischt, Press Secretary
Published: 05-07-2018

Akron, Ohio, May 7, 2018 – Today, Mayor Horrigan introduced legislation to create a Vacant Building Registration program to address blighted commercial buildings in Akron neighborhoods. The new law would require owners of vacant commercial or industrial buildings to register with the City, keep the properties secure and well-lit, and submit a plan to either rent, sell, renovate or demolish the structure within one year.

“Most Akron residents can point to at least one building in their area—an old gas station, warehouse, restaurant, or corner store—that has been vacant and neglected for years,” Mayor Horrigan said. “They are a blight on our neighborhoods and a magnet for crime and vandalism. This new law will give us the tools we need to hold property owners responsible and, when appropriate, order these buildings demolished.” 

The Vacant Building Registration (VBR) program, modeled after other cities like Sandusky, Cincinnati, and Youngstown, would require property owners to pay an annual registration fee and submit a Vacant Building Plan describing their plans for maintaining and repurposing the site. Fines can be issued for failure to register or properly maintain the property. Information collected under this program will be shared with other City departments, including Police and Fire, to ensure that Akron’s first responders know the condition and occupancy of a commercial structure when responding to a call for service.  

All funds collected under this new law will be used exclusively to maintain the VBR program and help cover the cost of demolishing properties that are beyond repair, while the City pursues payment from the property owner.

“The benefits of this program are countless—it will remove blight, reduce crime, stabilize neighborhoods, increase property values, help foster economic development, and improve the safety of our citizens and our first responders,” Mayor Horrigan continued. “In several years, the goal is to see significantly fewer vacant commercial buildings in Akron because they are either reoccupied with new businesses or safely demolished to make room for new, productive uses.”

The new law will be presented to the Planning Committee of Akron City Council this afternoon.  Council is expected to vote on the legislation in the coming weeks. Details of the registration process and enforcement—including forms, applicable fees, and protocol—will be released following passage of the legislation

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For further information, contact:
Ellen Lander Nischt
Press Secretary / Assistant Director of Law
166 South High Street,
Akron OH 44308
Phone: 3303752325
E-mail: [email protected]

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