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The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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 After the demolition this summer of a mixed-use building in downtown Port Clinton, the Ottawa County Land Bank is focusing its attention on structures in other parts of the county, JoEllen Regal, president of the land bank’s board of directors, said last week.
 Regal said the Port Clinton property included apartments and commercial space but hadn’t been in use for years and had become a safety hazard.


 The land bank owns eight other properties, including structures in the Genoa and Oak Harbor areas, and some may be demolished by early next month. Bids for contracts to remove asbestos and the demolition have been advertised.
 Demolition includes removal of the structures, foundations and basements, Regal said, and the land bank will also contract for lawn maintenance and removal of diseased trees where needed.
 Any recyclable materials found during the inspection of the houses will be donated to non-profit organizations.
 All properties obtained by the land bank were delinquent on property taxes.
 Funding for the demolitions is coming from a $500,000 grant from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency through its Neighborhood Initiative Program. The goal is to stabilize property values by removing and then “greening” vacant and blighted properties in targeted areas in an effort to prevent future foreclosures for existing homeowners, according to the OHFA website.
 In Ohio, 31 percent of homeowners with loans owe at least 125 percent more than their estimated home value.
 Regal said the NIP grant includes restrictions that require the land bank to own demolished properties for three years.
 Once that requirement is met, the properties can be sold. Once purchased, the new owner can build a new house or adjoining property owners can but the land and split the lot. Another option is for the properties to be developed into community gardens or green spaces.
 “The properties we acquire with the grant have to be delinquent in taxes and abandoned and blighted,” Regal said.
 Ottawa County established the land bank in April 2016. The acquisition and demolition of properties is administered by the county’s regional planning commission. 

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