New Land Bank Coordinator Mackenzie Edison was introduced at the monthly meeting of the Highland County Land Reutilization Corporation (land bank).
Julie Bolender, Highland County Economic Development director, said Edison was born and raised in the county and that she still makes it her home. She said Edison is very invested in the county and helping it grow and be more attractive.
Bolender said Edison’s office is on the first floor of the Scott House but that she didn’t have an office phone number yet. She said she’d be sure to announce that phone number as soon as it is in place.
Bolender said Edison and Mark Current, the Highland County Community Action Organization housing director, haven’t had the chance to sit down and go over the full land bank details yet, but that they would “hopefully” do so Monday or Tuesday next week.
She said she hoped to have a more thorough meeting next month as she and Edison go through the files and meet with other land bank members.
Highland County commissioner Jeff Duncan said the land bank is in a transitional phase and this was the first meeting since the process started. He said that in another month, after the pair have had a chance to meet with Current and others and catch up, they’ll maybe be able to move forward with more land bank aspects.
In other news, Bolender said she and Edison were still waiting on phone calls about the Brownfield grant projects. She said they haven’t received their award letters yet from the Ohio Department of Development, but that they’re expected “very soon.” She said the letters were expected a couple of months ago and have left the land bank hanging.
Bolender said that the land bank has almost $500,000 left to spend, but that they’re holding that money in reserve for the second round because when money would need to be used to finish the three projects the land bank already applied for. She said the second round applications were due on April 30 and that they were holding off applying because they weren’t officially awarded from the first round, but that they expected to hear about that awarding “any day now.”
Bolender said she would like there to be room for other projects from the Brownfield grant, but they will have to wait for the round when funds from counties that didn’t use their full $1 million allotments go into a pot that would then go out to all of Ohio on a first-come, first-served basis in the summer. She said if someone had a project they were interested in, she’d like that to get started now so the minute that pot opens, they’d be able to submit an application.
Linda Clump, a Mowrystown council member, said she had an update on two of the properties at 17 Maple St. and 79 W. Main St. in Mowrystown. She said she filed public health nuisance claims with the Highland County Health Department last month. Clump said the health department came out, did its investigations and found a violation at both, so they sent a letter to the property owners. She said both letters were signed. She also said the property owners have until May 16 to abate the properties, and if the properties aren’t taken care of by then, the issue will be taken to the prosecutor’s office.
In other news, Lauren Walker, the city of Hillsboro’s representative on the land bank, said she thought the land bank might need to revisit the application process for a Demolition and Revitalization grant. She said she remembered Current previously mentioned creating bid packets for contractors because they would need to be vetted “pretty heavily.” She said those should be looked at because if the funds start getting granted, the land bank might need to be ready.
Bolender said that for the 18 Hillsboro properties, she thought the land bank talked about creating bid packets and grouping them geographically.
Walker also said it also depended on how the project got funded. If all the 18 properties weren’t funded, then the geographic area would look different.
In other news, Bolender said the land bank and Economic Development offices will both be closed Wednesday through Friday next week because they would be in Cleveland for the Ohio Land Bank Association meeting.
In terms of updates on old business:
* Bolender said two parcels on Cinderella Drive were still for sale.
* She said a parcel on 6855 Dutch St. in Hillsboro is still in probate.
* Bolender said the Demolition and Revitalization grant application was still in process at the state level and that they haven’t heard anything back yet.
* A property at 6638 Wizard of Oz Way in the Rocky Fork Lake area had its foreclosure completed and was transferred to the land bank.
The next land bank meeting will take place on Thursday, May 19, at 9 a.m.
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.