The Positive Impact of Blight Removal on Communities

Tuesday, November 7: 10:45am – 12:15pm

This session presents a history of how blight removal has been addressed across the nation, including data demonstrating the positive impact in both rural and urban communities.

Session Materials:

The Positive Impact of Blight Removal on Communities Presentations (10.10 MB Adobe PDF File)


Marc Gardner, Ohio Housing Finance Agency
Marc D Gardner is a Neighborhood Initiative Program (NIP) Liaison/Administrator with the Ohio Housing Finance Agency in Columbus Ohio. Marc's current responsibilities includes site visits to the participating land banks around the state as well as assisting in the administrative functions of both NIP and Save the Dream programs. Prior to working for OHFA Marc spent 20 plus years working in the private financial sector in commercial banking. He attended Columbus Technical Institute majoring in computer science and is a certified network engineer through Babbage Simmel.


Nigel Griswold, Dynamo Metrics
Nigel is an innovator in the field of spatial econometrics, the study of the effects of distance and proximity on economic activity. Nigel's work in urban policy began in 2004, when he examined the relationship between blight abatement and housing values in Flint, Michigan, at the behest of Congressman Dan Kildee, who was then treasurer of Genesee County. Nigel's subsequent research culminated in the decision of U.S. Treasury to allow Hardest Hit Fund money to be spent on demolition of blight. Nigel now focuses on building decision support tools for local government and furthering the use of spatial time series metrics in varying types of urban and regional research in the social sciences.

Shawn Carvin, Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership
Shawn Carvin is a native of Warren, Ohio and has worked at Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership as the Land Bank Program Director since the program's infancy. The Land Bank works diligently to return derelict, vacant properties back to productive use and increasing the quality of life in Trumbull County. Through his work he has helped develop the Trumbull County Land Bank into a high-impact and efficient revitalization entity. Shawn believes that community engagement is the most powerful way to build strong, lasting communities. Shawn has developed and implemented land bank programming that is accountable to neighborhoods and accessible to residents.

Robin Darden Thomas, Western Reserve Land Conservancy's Thriving Communities
Robin Darden Thomas brings a background in education and 28 years experience in county government to Western Reserve Land Conservancy's Thriving Communities. She served as Chief Deputy Treasurer of Cuyahoga County, where she was responsible for the collection of nearly $2 billion of taxes annually and was instrumental in establishing a funding mechanism for the county land bank. Prior to joining the Treasurer's office, her public service experience included the coordination of property assessments and real estate taxation for the Cuyahoga County Auditor's office. Robin joined Jim Rokakis at Western Reserve Land Conservancy's Thriving Communities in August 2011 following her retirement from government service. Her primary role is working with Ohio counties in establishing county land banks. She is also an integral part of the operation of Thriving Communities. Robin received her bachelor's degree and master's degree in education from the University of Virginia, and an MBA from Cleveland State University.

Bryan K. Davis, Scioto County Land Reutilization Corporation
Bryan Davis is a Scioto County Commissioner and Chairman of the Scioto County Land Reutilization Corporation. Bryan formerly served on the Southern Ohio Port Authority as marketing chair and executive committee member. Bryan also owns and operates Sole Choice Inc., in Portsmouth, Ohio, which sells products into the retail, defense, shoe/apparel and medical industries. Bryan's professional background includes manufacturing and sales/marketing. He is active in many service organizations in and around Portsmouth. Bryan is married to Lori, his wife of 27 years. They have 2 children Hannah & Kylie, and nephews Colten & Blake who now live in their home located in Portsmouth, Ohio.

Rayanna A. Binder, Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA)
Rayanna A. Binder is a private contractor with the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA), where she serves as the Director of the Blight Elimination Program. Prior to working for IHCDA, she practiced law with a focus in the areas of real estate and title insurance litigation. Mrs. Binder is licensed to practice in the State of Indiana and the U.S. District Court for the Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana. She earned her J.D. degree from Robert H. McKinney School of Law-Indianapolis and her B.A. degree from Purdue University.

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