PDT Staff Writer
Ten of the 14 properties put up for sale by the City of Portsmouth are in the process of being sold. On June 10, the Portsmouth Daily Times published a story that the city had foreclosed on the properties, and would sell the vacant lots for $2,000 and the houses for $500. Now, eight vacant lots and two houses are being sold, mainly to neighbors of those properties. Portsmouth City Health Commissioner Chris Smith said the two houses are going to be renovated for use instead of being torn down.
“We have applications that have passed the Land Reutilization Neighborhood Committee. So they have been approved by the neighborhood committee,” Smith said. “If the paperwork goes through they’ll be sold in the next couple of weeks. It will be about $4,500 in sales coming in.”
Smith said the two houses, scheduled by the new owners for renovation, are at 5415 Harrison Ave. and 819 Court St.
The eight vacant lots — at 2214 Seventh St., 2116 Charles St., 2203 Mabert Rd., 1537 Robinson Ave., 2107 Scioto Trail, 3162 Walnut St., 1136 10th Street and 1652 Logan Ave. — are all being purchased by neighbors living next to the property and mainly used for the expansion of their existing yards.
At Monday night’s Portsmouth City Council meeting Council authorized the appropriation of $19,480 for the Land Reutilization Program.
“That means we will be able to move Animal Control to Code Enforcement, so that’s going to allow us to maintain the properties, and give us some personnel to run the program,” Smith said. “The Health Department lost three employees maybe two years ago, and, while we don’t need those back, this fix allows us to do their work with less people.”
Smith said the move would not cost the city additional money, and will actually save the city $1,500 this year out of the General Fund budget.
“It will also give us the money for filing costs,” Smith said. “And it gives us money for deed transfers and signs for yards and maintenance.”
Smith said the city is moving forward in working with the county to forclose on 50 more properties.
Meanwhile, the Scioto County Health Coalition is coordinating the community and economic development of the “gateway” into Portsmouth, which is Scioto Trail and U.S. 52. According to the Coalition, their goal is to improve Scioto County’s health rankings, which includes economic factors, so the short-term strategic goal of the “Gateway Project” is to revitalize the main routes through Portsmouth, to improve the perception of the city to encourage outside investment in Scioto County.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.