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Counties secure funding for demolition

WOODSFIELD — Dozens of dilapidated structures in numerous local counties soon will be razed now that the local land banks have secured the necessary funding to begin improvements to their communities.

Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted recently announced more than $42 million in grant funding to help demolish blighted properties in almost every county in the state including in Monroe, Belmont, Harrison and Jefferson counties.

The Monroe County Land Reutilization Corp., also known as the county’s land bank, secured $500,000. County Treasurer Taylor Abbott, chairman of the board, said the funds will allow the land bank to demolish 27 properties in the county.

The finalized list of properties identified for demolition are in Antioch, Duffy, Graysville, Hannibal, Lewisville, Woodsfield, Sardis, Beallsville, Clarington and Fly.

“Twenty-three of which were landowners who gave us permission to tear down structures on their property and they will retain ownership of the property,” he said, adding that the landbank owns four of the 27 properties.

Taylor said members are “thrilled” the county was awarded the funds and looks forward to beginning the process to help revitalize the communities.

“The board, all of us, are collectively thrilled about it. It’s the largest demolition project we’ve ever had here in the county. It’s going to begin a period of revitalization to really begin cleaning up earnestly in some of our communities and hopefully new homes will be built in place of these dilapidated structures. We’re just thrilled to see this beginning here because it’s needed badly,” he said, adding that he is hopeful that the demolition of these properties will help bring additional funding in the future for more projects.

Taylor said they plan to begin demolition work within the next couple months – as soon as August.

“I’d like to have these wrapped up by the end of the year,” he added.

The next step in the process is that the properties must now be put out for bid for demolition.

The Belmont County Reutilization Corp. was awarded $500,000. T.J. Hill, who works as an assistant to Belmont County Treasurer Kathy Kelich who is also the land bank chairwoman, said they have around 25 properties in mind for demolition including sites in Pease Township, Pultney Township, Bridgeport, Colerain and Barnesville. The funds will allow the land bank to expand its services to include more target areas throughout the county.

“We didn’t have any funds previously, we expended all of our funds when the state was doing it through the Neighborhood Improvement Program, so we didn’t have any funds at that point and then this came through. It’s been a nice asset for us and definitely helped us pick up the 25 properties so we can remove blight throughout the county,” he said.

The land bank’s previous target areas only included Bridgeport, Bellaire, Martins Ferry and Powhatan Point.

“These funds can be spread out through the whole county so that’s also a nice benefit for the state releasing these funds,” he added.

He noted that they have until July 2023 to utilize the funds. The state will reimburse the funds the county uses to tear down each of the properties.

The Harrison County Board of Commissioners also secured $500,000 through the program. Commissioner Paul Coffland said they have more than 30 properties compiled that are in need of demolition throughout the county.

“We’ll be able to tear down 30 or more properties. If bids come in lower, we’ve got more that can be done. We’ll use all of the money,” he said, adding that they worked with townships and villages in the county to compile lists of dilapidated properties.

Coffland said the funding will be an immense help for the county in aiding with its blight.

“Unfortunately we have a number of dilapidated properties throughout the county. This is a way that we can clean things up and possibly open up properties for redevelopment. It’s definitely a good thing for the county,” he said.

Additionally, the Jefferson County Land Bank secured $500,00 in funding through the Ohio Building Demolition and Site Revitalization Program.

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