Land bank working towards millions


Corporation sets goal of 100 properties

By Wayne Allen - tallen@civitasmedia.com



The Scioto County Land Reutilization Corporation (Land Bank) met on Thursday with a number of items on the agenda.

The land bank was formed to help address the blighted housing stock in Scioto County. Officials with the land bank have be acclimating a list of properties throughout the county that would qualify for the program once the list is complete, funding can be applied for that would funding the destruction of structures on the properties.

The land bank will be able to acquire and consolidate vacant parcels of land through purchases, donates 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.

As of Thursday morning the list of properties stood at 75, with a goal of 100 before application is made for funding. According to Davis, the list of 75 properties, if funded, would bring $2.5 million to the community, $25,000 a house.

Chairman Bryan Davis said letters have been to sent to all trustees and villages within Scioto County asking them to identify properties that could benefit from this program.

An application deadline of Sept. 2 has been set to apply for available funding.

Recently, the corporation entered into an agreement with the Scioto County Commissioners to allow county employees to complete the application. As many as four employees in the office of Scioto County Commissioners will be working on the application.

Davis said there’s been a lot of work already done on the application and are on schedule to met application deadline.

To cover the initial costs of the corporation Scioto County Treasurer and the Scioto County Commissioners partnered to provide $20,000. Some of the initial costs include insurance for corporation officers and retaining an attorney.

The Scioto Foundation has paid the start up costs of the land bank, as a grant to the Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA). The foundation are also paid the Western Reserve Land Conservancy to serve as consultants to SOPA and the land bank.

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 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, donates 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.

According to the commissioners, Scioto County has many vacant structures, many in deplorable condition. This initiative will allow us to stabilize our housing base by eliminating blight and removing uninhabitable or functionally obsolete housing.

Kester believes the same initiative could be applied to commercial buildings.

Kester said the first priority of the land bank will be public safety.

“As we get going the board of the land bank will have to make some decisions on what to prioritize,” Kester said.

He said there are some houses that could be saved and turned around for use by a family or individual.

“There are about 10 to 12 abandoned commercial buildings that have some value and some people have expressed interest in them if they were in the land bank,” Kester said.

Kester said if the land bank is able to sell some of the commercial buildings, they would have the money to tear down more houses or help in the rehabilitation of some of the houses.

Corporation sets goal of 100 properties

By Wayne Allen

tallen@civitasmedia.com

Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101 ext. 1933 or @WayneallenPDT on Twitter.

Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101 ext. 1933 or @WayneallenPDT on Twitter.