By Jordan Puckett
Several homes in the Village of Batavia and the rest of Clermont County have been targeted for demolition under the Moving Ohio Forward program.
According to the office of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, the program was started to assist communities in their economic recovery by removing blighted or abandoned structures to reclaim our neighborhoods.
A total of $75 million was allocated for the program, spread throughout the state’s 88 counties. Each county is allotted a set amount of money based on the percentage of foreclosures from 2008 to 2011. The first $500,000 of the grant money allotted to each county may be used with no match. Clermont County has been allocated $1,173,073. If funds remain unspent, they may be reallocated to another county.
Grant Coordinator Annette Decatur said Clermont County has only applied for $500,000. Any cost beyond that would have to have a 50 percent match from the county.
Fifty homes in Clermont County were submitted for consideration for demolition. It was originally estimated that 39 of these would actually be demolished, with the average demolition cost at $12,000.
“I anticipate more than 39 homes will be demolished,” Decatur said. “The actual average cost is closer to $6,000 per home, though it varies.”
“This program is meant for dilapidated residential homes only,” said Batavia Village Administrator Dennis Nichols. “There are at least four in the Village of Batavia that need to come down.”
Decatur said that the homes have been a burden to the community and their removal will increase property values of surrounding homes, and that new homes will be able to be built in the newly vacant space.
“The homes in Batavia will probably be demolished within the next two to three weeks,” Decatur said.
Fourteen communities in Clermont County have opted to participate in the Moving Ohio Forward program. Demolition has already begun in the county and will continue throughout the year. Funds will remain available until Dec. 31.