The formation of a Scioto County Land Bank has been in the works for the last several months. The parameters on the beginning work of the land bank are being defined.
Leaders throughout Scioto County have been meeting and discussing the possibility of establishing a land bank in Scioto County. Leaders also discussed what advantages there are to a county land band and what funding would be available.
At the last meeting, officials discussed the urgency of action. It was stated, a land band would need to be established in the next four thru six weeks to apply for potentially millions in funding.
At the end of March, the Scioto County Commissioners passes a resolution allowing for the incorporation of the Scioto County Land Reutilization Corporation. Once the corporation has been established, the commissioners are anticipated to pass a second resolution naming the corporation the authoritative body to handle the counties blighted housing stock, with the goal of eventually putting it back on the tax rolls.
Once the corporation has been established, the commissioners are anticipated to pass a second resolution naming the corporation the authoritative body to handle the counties blighted housing stock, with the goal of eventually putting it back on the tax rolls.
Scioto County Commissioner Bryan Davis said preparations are being made to pass the second resolution, as soon as next week.
Once established Scioto County will have the 29th county land bank in the state and the first in South Central/South Eastern Ohio.
The Scioto Foundation has offered to pay the start up costs of the land bank, as a grant to the Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA) and SOPA has volunteered to administer the land bank once established.
The foundation are also paid the Western Reserve Land Conservancy to serve as consultants to SOPA and the land bank.
Davis said the initial Scioto County Land Reutilization Corporation Board of Directors will be himself, Scioto County Commissioner Doug Coleman and Scioto County Treasurer Bill Ogg.
Once the board meets they will determine who should fill two more seats on the board.
SOPA Executive Director Jason Kester said the first priority of the land bank will be public safety.
“As we get going the board of the land bank will have to make some decisions on what to prioritize,” Kester said.
He said there are some houses that could be saved and turned around for use by a family or individual.
“There are about 10 to 12 abandoned commercial buildings that have some value and some people have expressed interest in them if they were in the land bank,” Kester said.
Kester said if the land bank is able to sell some of the commercial buildings, they would have the money to tear down more houses or help in the rehabilitation of some of the houses.
The land bank once established will be able to acquire and consolidate vacant parcels of land through purchases, donates or intergovernmental transfer from foreclosure. The land bank will be able to clear title to land and prepare parcels for transfer to a third party for redevelopment or reuse.
Once established and everything is in order the land bank will be able to apply for available funding to help further address, the areas blighted housing stock in an impactful way.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT