Officials with the Scioto County Land Reutilization Corporation sent in the communities application for Hardest Hit Funds, requesting $3.25 million to allow for 109 homes to be razed throughout Scioto County.
The Scioto County Land Reutilization Corporation was formed to handle the counties blighted housing stock, with the goal of eventually putting it back on the tax rolls.
If awarded, the Hardest Hit Funds would be allocated through the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, through their Neighborhood Initiative Program (NIP). One of the goals of the NIP fund is to stabilize property values by removing and greening Vacant and Blighted properties in Targeted Areas in an effort to prevent future foreclosures for existing homeowners.
According to released information from the Scioto County Commissioners, Scioto County has the 29th county land bank in the state and the first in South Central/South Eastern Ohio.
The Scioto Foundation has offered to pay the start up costs of the land bank, as a grant to the Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA) and SOPA has volunteered to administer the land bank once established. The foundation are also paid the Western Reserve Land Conservancy to serve as consultants to SOPA and the land bank.
Bryan Davis, chairman of the Scioto County Land Reutilization Corporation, said the application for funding was officially submitted after review from the Western Reserve Land Conservancy.
“I will say, our consultant (Western Reserve Land Conservancy) was very impressed with our work,” Davis said.
He said at a minimum the corporation can anticipate $500,000 in funding. The application allows for $25,000 a house, to be used to raze structures on the property and upkeep.
When asked how the 109 houses were chosen to be on the list Davis said, “These properties have all passed through the (Scioto County) prosecutors office for approval as part of the pipeline list. The list was developed using input from the city of Portsmouth, villages, SOPA, township trustees and others.”
He acknowledged the majority of the houses on the list are within the city of Portsmouth, but the corporations focus is county wide.
“The list houses mostly in Portsmouth and does help is a great way to clear blight. One has to keep in mind, this list is the start. As houses become available in the future they may or may not be listed, depending on circumstances. Some may drop off if property owners can work a deal with the (Scioto County) treasurer, this is very much a fluid list,” Davis said.
The application for funding was sent to the Ohio Housing Finance Agency. It’s anticipated the agency will review the application and the community will know sometime in early October about funding and at what level.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101 ext. 1933 or @WayneAllenPDT on Twitter