The Highland County Land Reutilization Corporation learned it will have the opportunity to use multiple sources of funds to help the county at its Thursday morning meeting. Matt Wagner, program manager for Tetra Tech, was present at the meeting to give the news to the land bank.
He said thanks to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s new budget that included $500 million to address brownfield sites across the state and $150 million strictly for land banks, the Highland County land bank will receive money to use on multiple projects.
Wagner said the state has 90 days to develop the process through which people can apply and receive funding, and that the target for the end of the process is the end of September. He said when that is finalized, people will know when the applications are due and the requirements associated with them.
“The unique situation that Highland County has is that you are guaranteed $1 million if you can use it,” Wagner said. “If you can’t, then it goes to the kitty, if you will, in which every county then can do on a first-come, first-served, basis.”
He said the money will not have to be spent, just allocated for specific projects. He said the understanding is the county will have a year to figure out the allocations.
Wagner said if the guidelines from the Ohio Department of Development (ODOD) are like some previous projects, then projects will need a Phase I, Phase II, a finished geophysical survey and an asbestos inspection if there was found to be asbestos in the building. He said some of the aspects he doesn’t know about yet are whether the land bank must own the property to apply or if a village or township can apply themselves. He said there will be an application period following the release of the guidelines where people will know the guidelines, can develop their projects, and then submit them to the ODOD.
However, Wagner said there is one stipulation, and that is that there’s a 25 percent matching requirement for the money. He said he doesn’t know what would constitute a match, whether it’s a cash match or if due diligence could be considered a match, because people got themselves “up to speed” on demolition, remediation and other costs. He also said in previous cases, a match was able to come from private entities or development partners, so more information is needed in that area.
Wagner also said that the county will receive specifically $500,000 through the land bank to look at dilapidated housing and commercial properties, but non-brownfield. He said brownfield is gas stations, dry cleaners, junkyards, factories or school institutions that might be derelict with asbestos. He said it is mainly things that have an environmental hazard to them or things that would cost money to get rid of and disposed of properly that would be considered brownfield sites.
In other news, Mark Current, Highland County Community Action Organization housing director, gave new updates on properties not previously talked about at land bank meetings. They are as follows:
* Current said the Yankee Doodle Inn Inc. property at 114 Main St. in Lynchburg has no tax delinquency, according to the auditor’s website. Because of that he said the property is not able to be repaired, according to Highland County Prosecutor Anneka Collins. However, Wagner said in other counties it is possible, and Current said he would investigate further.
* Current said the property at 2596 S.R. 134, Mt. Orab, is in the process of being transferred to the Clay Township Trustees.
* He said the property at 253 E. Main St. in Hillsboro had been found to have asbestos, but strictly in the shingles. He said the asbestos testing and abatement would cost less than $4,000 and that the demolition cost, based on previous demolitions, would be around $12,000. Current said this is a property that will not go anywhere until something is done with it.
* A woman attended the land bank meeting and said she knew the owner of a property at 12218 New Lexington Ave. in Highland, and that he is willing to sign it over. She gave Current the contact information of someone that knows the owner so he could talk it over.
* Current said the property at 12206 North Shore Dr., Hillsboro, must go through probate court.
* He also said there is someone currently living in a trailer on a property at 10893 Cinderella Dr.
Current also gave updates on properties highlighted in previous land bank meetings, which are as follows:
* Current said there currently isn’t much that can be done on the 11 parcels in the Enchanted Hills Community Association until the expedited foreclosure is finished.
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.