The first meeting of the Scioto County Land Reutilization Corporation (Land Bank) was held earlier this week. Members of the corporation appointed additional members and elected leadership.
The initial members of the corporation were Scioto County Commissioners Bryan Davis and Doug Coleman along with Scioto County Treasurer Bill Ogg.
At the meeting members appointed two other members Dereck Allen, Portsmouth city manager and Bill Runyon, trustee of Clay Township. It was also expressed during the meeting that additional members of the corporation may be appointed in the future.
When it comes to leadership members elected Davis as chairman and Allen as vice-chairman.
Initial work to establish the Scioto County Land Reutilization Corporation has begun months ago with the Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA) starting conversations with local leaders about the benefits of a local land bank.
The Scioto Foundation has offered to pay the start up costs of the land bank, as a grant to SOPA and SOPA has volunteered to administer the land bank once established.
Jason Kester, executive director of SOPA, defined a land bank as, “a community organization that deals with blighted houses.One of the things we identified with the America’s Best Communities Grant as a weakness of our community was the lack of recreational opportunities and lack of entry level housing.”
Kester said you can find communities of higher value housing and you can find communities of blighted housing.
“We have an issue in housing. There are over 3,000 blighted houses in Scioto County. How to address that issue has been identified (as a need of the community),” Kester said.
The land bank once established will be able to acquire and consolidate vacant parcels of land through purchases, donations or intergovernmental transfer from foreclosure. The land bank will be able to clear title to land and prepare parcels for transfer to a third party for redevelopment or reuse.
At the meeting members were informed of an upcoming application deadline to apply for a share of $60 million being allocated to new land banks throughout Ohio.
“As of yesterday, receive notification of Hardest Hit Funds being released and they sent out the applications for $60 million to be divided between roughly 30 counties (with newly formed land banks),” Davis said. “This means we (Scioto County Reutilization Corporation) could potentially get upwards of $6 million dollars.”
According to www.treasury.gov, the Hardest Hit Fund was established to help states to continue foreclosure prevention and neighborhood stabilization efforts.
Davis said the directors of the corporation agreed, they needed to meet more than once a month, to ensure all of the necessary items are falling into place to have the application completed on time.
He said the next meeting for the corporation is now scheduled for July 14, at 8 a.m., at Scioto County Job and Family Services.
Davis said he was hopeful a meeting could be scheduled before July 14, but there was some homework that came from the meeting for particular members, that needs to be completed.
Other action taken at the meeting included a Secretary pro tem of the corporation, adopting a code of regulations and approving an agreement and plan with the Scioto County Commissioners.
Members also discussed the need to the corporation to have start up capital to pay for things, until revenue could be received. Members estimated the need could range from $8,000 to $10,000.
The Scioto County Commissioners present at the meeting indicated they along with Ogg may be able to provide some funding to cover initial expenses of the corporation.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101 ext. 1933 or @WayneallenPDT on Twitter