CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Officials at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development have reversed their decision about selling Cuyahoga County properties to speculators and others and will continue to sell to the Cuyahoga Land Bank.

HUD and the land bank reached a nine-month agreement Friday that will enable the county to buy low-valued, foreclosed and vacant properties and keep the blighted homes off the market.

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, who acted as a mediator, played a key role in contract negotiations. Cuyahoga Land Bank president Gus Frangos and HUD spokesman Brian Sullivan praised Brown's efforts to help the two groups reach an amicable agreement.