Land Bank proceeds cautiously as a result of uncertain funding

By Kyle Shaner -

SIDNEY – As it looks for future funding, the Shelby County Land Reutilization Corp. is proceeding cautiously in acquiring properties.

The Land Bank receives reimbursements from the Neighborhood Initiative Project, which is a program of the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, when it demolishes blighted properties. The NIP’s goal is to stabilize property values by removing and greening vacant and blighted properties in an effort to prevent future foreclosures for existing homeowners.

Shelby County’s Land Bank has acquired 79 properties since its founding in 2016, demolishing 69 of them and selling 10. It’s received more than $1 million in reimbursements, but future NIP funding is not guaranteed.

“Because we’re unsure of our funding, we’re keeping some foreclosures in the pipeline but we’re not not overaggressive right now because our funding is up in the air,” Doug Ahlers, the Shelby County Land Bank director, said.

The Land Bank has four properties currently in foreclosure and has others that could be acquired as well. The group is focusing on properties that could be sold to limit its future maintenance expenses.

Since its last monthly meeting, the Land Bank sold three properties at 16377 County Road 25A, Anna; the Callahan property on state Route 66, Houston; and the Miller property on state Route 362, Minster.

It also demolished the property at 305 S. Ohio Ave. in Sidney. The Land Bank has requested $25,000 for reimbursements for that demolition but is only guaranteed to receive $12,500.

“We had more sales than we did demolitions during the month, but all those sales created a little more money for us to work with on future demolitions since our funding is questionable going forward,” Ahlers said.

Along with seeking funding for additional residential property demolitions, Ahlers said, he’s seeking funds for demolition of the former Wagner foundry in Sidney.

“Hopefully they can do something in next year’s budget,” he said. “It would be a real neat deal if the Wagner foundry ever went away.”

The Land Bank’s next meeting is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Dec. 3 in the County Annex.

By Kyle Shaner

Reach this writer at or 937-538-4824.

Reach this writer at or 937-538-4824.