Seven abandoned and blighted houses have been flattened so far in Clinton County, with more to be leveled in an ongoing project of the Clinton County Land Bank.
The land bank’s longer-term goal is for those sites to be returned to usefulness by new owners.
A year ago in December 2016 the Clinton County Land Bank was awarded $1 million by the Ohio Housing Finance Agency as part of a Neighborhood Initiative Program (NIP) to assist with the acquisition, demolition, greening, maintenance and ultimate disposition of at least 40 blighted properties in the county.
Since that time, the land bank has acquired 35 properties, has contracted 17 demolitions, and, as noted, has completed seven of those demolitions.
The first demolitions to occur have been in Blanchester (112 Central Ave.), Martinsville (606 E. Locust St.), Midland (111 Cuba Ave.), Lumberton (8331 U.S. Route 68), and in Wilmington (241 Langdon Ave., 51 Michigan Ave., and 309-311 S. Wall St.).
“There is still much work to be done,” said Taylor Stuckert, executive director of the Clinton County Regional Planning Commission, which oversees the administration of the land bank.
“It has been great hearing such positive feedback from neighbors and community members who are just so glad to see the blight being removed,” Stuckert added.
“The NIP funds are what allowed us to move quickly,” he said. The NIP program runs until (?) 2019.
There is enough money for the local land bank to deal with at least 40 vacant, abandoned properties, according to Stuckert.
The land bank’s board members have stated they will be focusing on demolition of properties over the next several months, and then move to reviewing the cleaned lots for disposition.
For its first batch of properties, the land bank started with parcels that were tax delinquent and had property owners willing to donate, said Stuckert. The land bank will continue to identify good candidate properties for its mission, and try to identify ways it can acquire those sites, he said.
Sometimes acquisition is a challenge, but Stuckert is pleased to say the Clinton County Land Bank is performing its mission.
The Clinton County Land Re-utilization Corporation — or less formally the “land bank” — is a private, non-profit corporation established by the Clinton County commissioners in 2016.
As part of the NIP, the local land bank will receive funds to maintain the properties it acquires and cleans for up to three years, or until they are transferred to a new owner.
The land bank board members are Chairman Pat Haley, Vice Chairman and Treasurer Jason Walt, Kerry Steed, John Burris and Brian Shidaker.
The regular meetings of the board are generally held on the first Wednesday of each month at 11:30 a.m. in the law library conference room, 3rd floor of the county courthouse.
Stuckert said, “The progress we have made in such a short amount of time has been the result of a team effort countywide. The land bank has relied upon support from many individuals and agencies including the Clinton County Regional Planning Commission, the Offices of the County Prosecutor, County Treasurer and county Auditor, as well as the Board of Revision, Common Pleas Clerk of Courts, the sheriff’s department, City and County building officials, county commissioners, the Clinton County Port Authority, and City and Village mayors, council members, trustees, and many others.”
The three contractors that were awarded the first set of properties for demolition are Belgray Inc. (Wilmington), Young’s Excavating (Hillsboro), and Sunesis Environmental (Fairfield).
For more information on the land bank, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Clinton County Regional Planning Commission at 937-382-3582.