Eric Schertzing, Ingham County Treasurer and Chairman of Ingham County Land Bank
As the founder and chairman of the Land Bank, Eric provides passion, vision and leadership to keep the organization moving forward. Eric believes the Land Bank’s work is important, “Because unloved homes need attention, by means of renovation or removal.”
Eric grew up as a farm boy. Naturally, he enjoys working on urban agriculture initiatives and finds assisting folks with the Land Bank Garden Program particularly rewarding. He’s looking forward to the Land Bank’s role in developing multi-unit, mixed-income and mixed-use properties on or near transit corridors. “Corridors are the front door to neighborhoods. They lower construction and purchase cost, and significantly improve household finances if one or more of the occupants utilize public transportation,” he says.
Dawn VanHalst, Interim-Executive Director, and Program Director
As the Program Director of the Land Bank, Dawn manages Land Bank program staff, including property sales, the garden program, housing renovation and demolition. She also assists the executive director with day-to-day operations and performs functions associated with Ingham County’s Brownfield coordinator position. Dawn believes the Land Bank’s work is important because, “It is dedicated to creating community, place and opportunity, serving as a tool to support homeownership, growth and investment in the community.”
Dawn thinks all Land Bank projects and initiatives are great, but her favorite part of working with the Land Bank is knowing the team’s dedication is strengthening and pushing forward community growth. Dawn would like to see Ingham County act as a place that appeals to, and retains a diverse group of residents that will live, work, play and raise families in the county.
Joe Bonsall, Operations Director
As the Operations Director of the Land Bank, Joe holds several responsibilities, including, managing property maintenance staff, office administration and procurement. While juggling operations tasks, Joe also assists the executive director with day-to-day duties and performs functions associated with Ingham County’s Land Bank coordinator position. Joe thinks the Land Bank's mission is important. “It generates sustainable economic prosperity, strengthens communities and creates great places,” he says.
Joe’s favorite Land Bank initiative has been the creation of a robust residential rental program, which has filled a need for quality affordable rental housing in the community. He envisions a future for Ingham County in which neighborhoods and commercial areas will be more vibrant and prosperous.
Roxanne Case, Grant Manager
As the Land Bank Grant Manager, Roxanne is responsible for rehab administration on for-sale properties, and demolitions within the county when a property is too far gone for saving. She believes the Land Bank’s work is important because, “It brings neighborhoods back to life -- eliminating blight and remodeling for sale properties gives momentum to neighborhoods and moves the county forward.”
Roxanne enjoys working with demolition properties and finds the responsibility of turning around a blighted structure into green space rewarding. “It’s always a happy day when we can improve the safety of our neighborhoods,” she says.
Karl Fofana, Property Maintenance Specialist
As Property Maintenance Specialist, Karl conducts maintenance on homes awaiting both demolition and renovation. Karl enjoys all Land Bank initiatives and the variety his job brings day-in and day-out.
Karl believes the Land Bank’s work is important because, “It helps increase homeownership and improves the appearance of the county.” For the future of Ingham County, Karl would like to see a reduction in foreclosures.
John Krohn, Garden Program Manager
John manages the Land Bank Garden Program, which provides technical assistance to empower urban residents to manage vacant lots as household or community gardens, urban farms, or enhanced green space. The Garden Program, with the help of a team of AmeriCorps members and volunteers from the community, is able to eliminate most of our maintenance obligations at many of our vacant parcels, turning those liabilities into assets for our community. As a Lansing resident, John sees the Land Bank’s work as vital to supporting neighborhoods hard hit by the foreclosure crisis, transforming problems into opportunities to create healthier, vibrant, and inspiring spaces for people to live and work in.
John is proud of the Land Bank’s community food assets, which include a u-pick raspberry patch, a u-pick sweet corn patch, and an orchard. John looks forward to helping provide Lansing’s urban core with some of the same opportunities for active outdoor recreation, food security, and natural beauty that rural and suburban residents enjoy."
Tony Olivarez, Property Maintenance Specialist
Tony maintains Land Bank properties and assists with evictions and code compliances. To Tony, “The Land Bank provides opportunity for home ownership for many, while improving the landscape of the Ingham County community.”Of all the projects Tony is involved in, he enjoys his daily interaction with residents, vendors and community leaders the most. As a Lansing native, one of Tony’s passions is the continued rehabilitation of properties, providing affordable housing for first time homeowners.