The Highland County land bank will address 16 delinquent properties near Rocky Fork Lake as part of the ongoing Rocky Fork Lake Area Safety and Advancement Planning Process (RFL-ASAP), a targeted crime-fighting and economic development program to improve quality of life in the area.
The land bank, a county entity funded by seed money from an $800,000 grant awarded to the Rocky Fork project, exists to obtain blighted, abandoned and tax-foreclosed properties with the goal of returning them to productive, tax-paying economic uses by sale or donation to nearby landowners or interested parties.
“It could be a vacant lot, a house trailer lot, a double wide that’s in such disrepair it needs demolished,” said Highland County Board of Commissioners President Shane Wilkin. “It’s hard to tell at this point.”
The land bank was a topic of discussion at Wednesday’s Highland County Board of Commissioners meeting.
Wilkin, who also sits on the land bank’s operating board, said Wednesday that Paint Township Trustee and fellow board member Randy Mustard will provide a list of delinquent properties at a meeting April 3.
Where they have been utilized already, land banks have helped local economies. For example, in Lucas County, which incorporated its land bank in 2010, the land bank took over an abandoned strip mall and turned it into a repurposed office and retail center. It also obtained through foreclosure, donation and negotiation several rundown properties in upper Toledo which resulted in the creation of the Uptown Green, a plaza, garden and small concert venue.
Wilkin said the Rocky Fork project’s steering committee recently heard from Development Strategies Group and The Montrose Group, developmental consultation firms interested in being involved in the implementation of the project.
“We’re ready to get the implementation going,” Wilkin said. “It’s moving.”
The land bank board meeting will be held Monday, April 3 at 1 p.m. in the basement of the Highland County Administration Building on Gov. Foraker Place.
In other news, the commissioners appointed the 2017 board members to the Highland County Local Corrections Planning Board and Reentry Coalition, and authorized a replacement structure on Lewis Lane.
The commissioners also declared March Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.