FORT LORAMIE — Two years after initial conversations floated the idea of a land bank in Shelby County, the Shelby County Land Reutilitzation Corp. took down its first condemned house, Tuesday, Oct. 17, here.
The property at the corner of Middle Street and state Route 705 was demolished by First Choice, an excavation company based in Piqua. It is the first of about 20 derelict properties the land bank has acquired, which are scheduled to meet the same fate before the end of the year.
“Once we get structures down, we regreen the area and hope to sell the properties to new owners or adjoining land-owners,” said Bob Guillozet, chairman of the corporation.
Following exploratory discussions in October 2015 and a public meeting in March 2016, the land bank applied for and won, in November 2016, federal Neighborhood Initiative Program funding through the Ohio Housing Finance Agency. The local corporation was awarded up to $2.5 million to acquire and tear down vacant buildings that have been eyesores for years.
Doug Ahlers, of Fort Loramie, was named director of the Shelby County corporation in January 2017.
“The land bank represents an opportunity to remove blighted, abandoned properties from neighborhoods,” Ahlers said in March 2017. “It has been my experience that people are reluctant to repair their own homes when it will not add value to the home. Removing blighted homes can begin the process of cleaning up neighborhoods. Once the process starts, it is almost contagious. Everyone else on the block makes improvements to their property and pretty soon, things turn around. That’s what I want to see happen.”
Guillozet told the Sidney Daily News that some of the 20 properties now in land bank control were acquired through purchase and some were given in lieu of taxes. All of them except the one that was torn down today are in Sidney. The next is slated for demolition, Oct. 31.
Among the land bank-condemned buildings are six in the 300 block of Court Street, those at 322 and 324 Jefferson St., 420 Second Ave., 500 to 510 N. Miami Ave., 302 and 304 Shelby St., 704 and 706 N. Main Ave., 225 Oak St. and 224 Queen St.
“We’ve received bids, and contracts are out for them to come down,” Guillozet said.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.