Land bank’s work important

The Belmont County Land Reutilization Corp., usually referred to as the land bank, has done a tremendous amount of good in local communities in recent years. Now, the organization is helping an area nonprofit to achieve a goal that already has been a decade in the making.

An effort is underway to build a walking trail from 26th Street to Guernsey Street in Bellaire, complete with an overlook atop the historic Great Stone Viaduct train bridge in the village.

According to Dan Frizzi Jr. of the Great Stone Viaduct Historical Education Society, two houses are expected to be torn down bybthe land bank in the spring, making way for trail development.

“The land bank is in the process of tearing down, or going to be tearing down, two of the last remaining houses that are there above the right-of-way,” Frizzi said.

The homes have been abandoned and in disrepair for years, allowing the land bank to take them over.

Katherine Kelich, Belmont County treasurer and land bank chairwoman, said the bank will turn the property over to the society after demolition. The land bank can give the properties to the society for productive use and for improving the local area, in hopes that will inspire others to improve their own properties.

That is great news — and a meaningful contribution to a worthwhile project. The walking trail and associated park will be great additions to the Bellaire community.

We applaud all involved in that effort. But we also remind land bank officials that other, less pleasant, projects are still pending. The asbestos abatement and demolition of the former Belmont school building, for one, must remain a high priority.

While that type of work actually will make many people sad, it still must be done. We look forward to seeing what else is on the land bank’s agenda for 2022.


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