WILMINGTON — A cleanup project in Clinton County is proceeding apace, according to an update from the county prosecutor’s office.
Assistant Clinton County Prosecuting Attorney Justin Dickman was hired in the winter primarily to help enforce the cleanup effort. During the county budget season last fall, county commissioners saw to it that the county prosecutor’s office was provided enough added funds to hire a new attorney for the cleanup.
Blight and other major building-and-zoning noncompliance issues form the focus for the first phase of the new program called Clean Up Clinton County.
The prosecutor’s office has filed some Board of Revision foreclosures on blighted, abandoned properties, Dickman told commissioners on Monday, adding there were two more on his desk he would file later in the day.
But because of the coronavirus public health emergency order, officials are not presently able to file for default judgment on the properties, said Dickman.
Since May 1, Clinton County Board of Revision foreclosures have been filed on properties located on the 100 block of Second Street in Port William, the 100 block of Broadway Street in Midland, the 100 block of Jordan Street in Reesville, and the 300 block of Columbus Street in Wilmington.
He cautiously anticipates that once things open back up after the global pandemic subsides, there will be a resolution on all four of those properties.
Sitting on that first property in Port William is an abandoned trailer, and the owners are believed to have both been deceased for more than a decade, Dickman said.
He is trying to collaborate with municipalities in the county, and said the city of Wilmington has been very aggressive in their process with this.
He said the parcel on the south side of West Sugartree Street in downtown Wilmington near The Escape where a building recently was demolished will soon be transferred over to the city.
There is a signed purchase contract for 187 Lynchburg in Westboro where there is an abandoned house. Local officials went through an eviction process for people who were squatting in the yard, he said.
The new owners of the Westboro site are cleaning up the property before the property is transferred to them.
Some significant progress has been made for the one-time restaurant building located in Lumberton along U.S. 68 South, said Dickman.
Commissioners were complimentary Monday regarding Dickman’s work. Clinton County Commissioner Mike McCarty said he likes how Dickman treats people with respect in a situation that can be difficult.
Dickman said, “We’re not trying to put the hammer down on people — [rather to be] firm but fair.”
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.