Blighted houses once littered the County, but now they are becoming a thing of the past.
“The Scioto County Land Reutilization Corporation is very excited about the progress we are now seeing,” Scioto County Commissioner and Land Reutilization Board Member Bryan Davis commented. “We have taken down 11 blighted houses, and we have two more coming down within the next couple days.”
The purpose of the Land Reutilization program is acquire blighted properties and return them to use often by demolishing the properties so they are no longer a health hazard and eye sore upon the community.
“We have five more houses being bid out for demolition in the next couple days,” Davis reported. “It’s going to be a busy year!”
Scioto County is focusing current efforts on the legal side of obtaining properties.
“It’s not an easy proposition as sometimes it takes a lot of entities to gain ownership of these blighted properties,” Davis explained. “The cooperation between the county, city, villages and townships has been amazing. For the most part, everyone is supporting the work being done and understand why it is important to clean up our area.”
The Scioto County Land Reutilization Corporation would like to let people know how the disposition of land works and how the program procures houses for demolition or rehabilitation. The houses being torn down fit into a couple or several categories. They are all foreclosed properties, blighted, falling in, burned out and possibly filled with black mold.
“These are uninhabitable houses,” Davis stressed.
Once a house is demolished, the property can be sold to an adjacent property owner for $200. If more than one property owner is interested, the lot could be split to satisfy all those wanting a green lot next to their home. If no adjacent property owner wants to invest in the lot, then two other options are possible. The land bank can hold on to the lot and sell it after three years to anyone. Also, a public or private non-profit can purchase it and use it for their own use.
“Some examples of use could be for economic development, a community garden, basketball courts or another type of community relation project,” Davis clarified. “As mentioned before, most of the houses we secure are done so through foreclosure. Other houses are donated. Owners just simply do not want to spend the money to tear them down, live out of the area, or they don’t want to continue paying taxes. Banks, estates, or private individuals are among potential sources.”
In order to donate the house/property must be free and clear of any liens, violations, taxes paid up and the owner must do a title search to present to the land bank. The land bank can take houses that are blighted or that are able to be rehabilitated.
“It is our hope that many houses can be rehabilitated and housing stocks improved for low to medium income earners,” Davis said. “In order to buy a house a potential owner must have their taxes paid up on currently owned properties and cannot be a serial code violator. Houses that are potentially purchased must be rehabilitated within a pre-determined time frame. Again, the mission of the corporation is to reduce blight. Not all houses will be made available for purchase.”
For more information about the program, contact Director of the Scioto County Land Reutilization Corporation, Michelle Throckmorton at (740) 355-8305.
Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.