By Kristin Rover
More than a dozen townships and villages in Clermont County are taking advantage of the Moving Ohio Forward Grant, a program that provides funds to demolish blighted or abandoned residential structures in the state.
“The Office of the Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine launched the grant program, called the Moving Ohio Forward Grant, to assist communities in their economic recovery by removing blighted or abandoned residential structures,” Annette Decatur, grant coordinator for the Clermont County Department of Community and Economic Development, said.
According to Decatur, 14 communities in Clermont County applied to have structures taken down including Batavia, Franklin, Jackson, Monroe, Ohio, Tate, Union, Washington and Wayne townships and the villages of Amelia, Batavia, Bethel, Moscow and New Richmond.
“Communities were contacted in May 2012 and asked to submit resolutions regarding participation in the program,” Decatur said.
She said Clermont County was allocated $1,173,073 for the projects and so far the county has only applied for $500,000 of the allocation.
“The allocation formula was based on the percentage of foreclosures filed in each county 2008-2011,” Decatur said.
She said entities that applied were approved based on the established criteria that had to be met.
“Communities submit specific residential structures which will be eligible for demolition, and the proof of authority for demolition,” Decatur said.
Decatur said the proof of authority for demolition includes the title, consent, a court order, and more.
She said projects are processed in the order that they are submitted until the initial grant funds expire.
So far, she said 33 properties have been submitted for demolition.
Decatur said the program is beneficial, especially considering the economic hardships that local governments face.
“The Moving Ohio Forward Demolition Program provides an excellent opportunity for communities to remove blighted or abandoned structures that are not only an eyesore, but pose a threat to the health and well-being of a neighborhood,” Decatur said.
She said many of the structures also have attracted dangerous activity to an area that could put residents at risk.
“By removing these structures we can help eliminate these threats and help restore value to many of our neighborhoods,” Decatur said.
Decatur said 12 structures have been removed so far in the county. She said all demolition work must be complete by Dec. 31.
“Two are awaiting asbestos surveys, six are ready to be awarded, and the remaining 13 are under contract and in the process of demolition,” Decatur said about the progress of the program.
Decatur said once the structures are removed, the land can be sold for redevelopment or used in any way that is permitted by the local zoning code.
She said communities who did not submit resolutions or would like more information about the grant program can contact her at (513) 732-7125.