Land bank gives grant updates


New updates on the Building Demolition and Site Revitalization Grant were given at the monthly meeting of the Highland County Land Reutilization Corporation (aka land bank).

Mackenzie Edison, the land bank coordinator, said three of the four contractors that were awarded bids signed their contracts and then the other one said they would have it ready by the end of the week.

She said two of those contractors, B. Vance Excavation LLC and Banks Constructions and Excavating, planned to start some of their demolitions on Thursday and go into next week on Hillsboro and Mowrystown properties. She also said that, by the end of November, she hoped all the Mowrystown properties and half of the Hillsboro ones would be finished.

Also concerning the grant, Edison said that according to the contractor working on the asbestos, the asbestos on 453 E. Main St. in Hillsboro and 410 E. Short St. in Lynchburg had it removed, with 22 N. High St. in Mowrystown currently being worked on.

The land bank also approved a change order on a bid from Banks Construction and Excavating. Edison said the change involved the bid package for 36 Maple St. in Mowrystown. She said she spoke to the owner of the property who said there was a small foundation on it that they wanted to be pulled out. Because of that, the shed removal was taken off the bid, with the foundation removal added, making the bid fall from $38,100 to $36,500.

In other Building Demolition and Site Revitalization Grant news, Edison said she spoke to the Ohio Department of Development (ODOD) about things the land bank would need to update on its application.

One of those items, she said, was that the land bank needed to reduce its budget because it was one of the last to apply, meaning it didn’t get any of the extra funds available. She said that because of that, it would need to stay under the $500,000 cap. Edison said that to reduce its budget, the land bank removed the properties that didn’t have their Memorandums of Understanding signed and also the properties that weren’t active, which came out to be around eight total properties.

Edison said after all the cuts and money already used, there would be $262,958 left over. She said that the land bank previously talked about the S.R. 73 barn and that with the leftover money, it might be something the land bank could look at have demolished. She said at the last meeting that the barn was “hot” with asbestos, which was why it wasn’t done alongside the other properties.

Edison said that concerning the cost of the asbestos, the contractor doing the current asbestos removal said it “could be $100,000” or it could be $75,000.

Commissioner and land bank member Jeff Duncan said that the land bank should try and get an estimate on the asbestos, then determine if they should rebid the property or talk to the contractor.

In other news, Edison said the property at 6638 Wizard of Oz Way in Rocky Fork Lake area still didn’t have an interested buyer. She said the land bank posted the property on Facebook and is also currently trying to update the website to allow the board to post properties there as well moving forward.

Lauren Walker, the city of Hillsboro’s representative on the land bank board, suggested that if the property doesn’t sell within a certain amount of time, maybe the land bank should advertise it for a specific time period in the newspaper.

Duncan said that would be a good idea, and that Edison should try and get a cost estimate on the newspaper cost by the next meeting. Duncan also said the land bank could put the properties out for bids and list them individually. However, he also agreed with Edison, who said they should wait until the property was cleaned up and ready to be sold.

Edison said the property at 12218 New Lexington Ave. in Highland has been on the land bank’s list “for a while.” She said the property owners came to her last month and wanted to donate it to the land bank. She also said that she had a meeting with an attorney on Friday to finalize getting the property in the land bank’s hands.

Duncan said an adjoining landowner told him that they were interested in that specific piece of property. He said that when he last talked to that prospective landowner, they said they were willing to clean it up. Duncan said he would try to check in with them again to see if they were still interested.

Todd Book, the land bank’s legal counsel with By the Book Advisors LLC, said they were currently watching Senate Bill 112 in the state legislature. He said it was an update to some of the land bank legislature. He also said other land banks were pushing it in the state, so it’s not something that would adversely affect the land bank.

Edison gave updates on the Brownfield Grant. She said she hadn’t heard anything yet on when the second round of the grant program would be awarded. She said she was waiting on a report from Tetra Tech on the East Monroe Mill. Edison also said that Tetra Tech was also in the process of finalizing the Phase 2 report so the land bank could be ready for the second round.

The land bank moved to allow Edison to make payments under $1,000 without waiting until the next meeting. It also moved to go to QuickBooks Plus for $85 per month.

The next meeting of the land bank is scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 17.

Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.

Jeff Duncan (left) and Terry Britton look at a presentation on a property at Thursday morning’s meeting of the land bank. Duncan (left) and Terry Britton look at a presentation on a property at Thursday morning’s meeting of the land bank. Jacob Clary | The Times-Gazette
Demolitions in Hillsboro and Mowrystown were to start Thursday

By Jacob Clary

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