Abandoned homes to be targeted
Written by JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN Sentinel County Editor
Thursday, 20 September 2012 09:50
Wood County has received $500,000 for a demolition derby of sorts - not of junk cars, but of abandoned homes.
|In this photo a house, set for demolition by the City of Bowling Green, is seen on the property at 650 Manville Avenue. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
The grant funding is part of a settlement to the Ohio Attorney General's Office from mortgage companies which were found to have improperly acted on home foreclosures.
"Each state got a chunk of money," explained Dave Steiner, director of the Wood County Planning Commission, which is administering the "Moving Ohio Forward" program.
That money was then divided among Ohio's counties based on their home foreclosure rates compared to other counties between 2008 and 2011.
"We were pretty high up there," Steiner said of the county's foreclosure rate.
The purpose of the "Moving Ohio Forward" program is to help the county tear down homes that have been abandoned by former owners who could no longer pay for them.
"People are walking away from them," said Jacque Varty, a sanitarian with the Wood County Health Department, who works with an ongoing demolition program for dilapidated houses in the county. The state grant will help put a dent in the growing list of abandoned homes, he said.
However, Varty cautioned the grant won't be enough to get rid of the all the blighted structures.
"We'll never catch up," he said. "They are pretty much scattered throughout the county."
Varty predicted the grant will allow the county to get rid of about 30 homes. That number may go down if asbestos is found in some of the homes, or the number may go up if area fire departments use the empty structures as training sites.
In order to form a list of sites that qualify for demolition, Steiner has asked municipal and township leaders to submit addresses of abandoned homes.
So far, 48 suggested sites have been submitted for demolition, with many of them recommended by the Wood County Health Department which keeps track of dilapidated housing.
Among the locations submitted so far are homes in Bairdstown, Bloomdale, Bowling Green, Custar, Cygnet, Deshler, Fostoria, Hatton/Risingsun, Hoytville, Milton Center, North Baltimore, Northwood, Perrysburg, Perrysburg Township, Rossford, Wayne, West Millgrove and Weston.
Steiner will be accepting suggested sites until Oct. 1. A committee will then rank the sites on a score sheet, and select the homes to be demolished.
Once the structures are torn down, the debris will be removed, the ground with be graded, and the soil will be seeded with grass, Steiner said.
According to the state, the grant funding must be used by Dec. 31, 2013.
"I'd like to start putting bids out by the end of this year," Steiner said.
Steiner stressed that only blighted, abandoned homes will be torn down.
"We're not going to tear it down without the owner's consent," he said.
The structures must be uninhabitable and no longer have utility service.
Steiner is hoping some of the expenses can be paid in cases where banks own the properties.
"We may recoup some of this money by putting liens on the property," he said. That money would then go back into the ongoing abandoned house demolition program operated by the health department.