Last updated: July 24. 2013 2:45PM - 269 Views

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Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

The city of Portsmouth’s Land Reutuilization program is in full swing and the Portsmouth City Health Department isn’t letting the grass grow under its feet when it comes to tearing down abandoned housing and moving forward in bringing a new feel of beautification to the city.

“We have approximately 100 properties,” Andy Gedeon, Director of Environmental Health for the Portsmouth City Health Department, said. “(Portsmouth City Health Commissioner) Chris (Smith) sent something over in August of last year and I sent something over in February (2013), where they are working on repossessing them. Some of them went into a treasurer’s contract, which is a win-win for everybody, because they pay the taxes, and that is distributed out to the tax districts, like the different schools. And all the properties that we are going to take possession of have already been spoken for, as far as neighbors.”

Properties on which taxes aren’t paid, will go back into the taxpayer’s hands, schools, and other tax districts, and those entities will get money back.

“So we’re looking at about 80 to 100 of those,” Gedeon said.

“We have worked hand-in-hand with the (Scioto) County Prosecutor’s office,” Gedeon said. “Any property, whether it’s a vacant lot, or a home that is vacant, and three years certified tax delinquent, we can have it repossessed based on the tax delinquency.”

Gedeon said a foreclosure notice is sent out, and the property and/or house goes to a sheriff’s sale.

“If it doesn’t sell at either of two sheriff’s sales the city takes possession,” Gedeon said. “Then we offer that for re-sale.”

Gedeon said if anyone knows where there is a vacant lot or a dilapidated house that is vacant and they are interested in purchasing that property and/or house, they should call the City Health Department at 740-353-5153.

“We’ll see if it’s tax delinquent and if it qualifies, and we can start that on the next list,” Gedeon said. “We’re looking at approximately another 15-20 homes. We’re wanting to hit the areas where we have one or two blighted houses, to stop the spread of the blight. So if anybody is out there that sees those or if they are just concerned about a house, let us know and we’ll see if it qualifies and put that on the list.”

In January, Solid Rock Construction Company of West Portsmouth began the demolition of 25 vacant homes as part of its contract with the City of Portsmouth and the Gateway Project. Abandoned homes on Scioto Trail, Gallia Street, Walnut Street, Robinson Avenue and many other segments of that corridor were torn down.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.

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