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Published: Saturday, 8/23/2014 - Updated: 3 months ago

Funds awarded to raze houses

Lucas County will use $1.2M to tear down 100 properties

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Kapszukiewicz Kapszukiewicz
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Lucas County is among the Ohio counties that will receive a share of $10.4 million in federal money for the demolition of vacant or blighted homes.

The Lucas County Land Bank will receive $1.2 million of the state's latest share of Neighborhood Initiative Program, the Ohio Housing Finance Authority announced Thursday.

The money will pay for demolition of homes that fall into disrepair and “greening” the lot that’s left, according to state plans.

Land banks in 14 other counties also received a cut of the money.

The money comes from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Hardest Hit Fund that was launched in 2010. The fund was originally slated for preventing future foreclosures, but Ohio obtained special permission last year to use $60 million for bulldozing houses.

Lucas County received $6 million from $49.5 million that was distributed to Ohio counties in February. The money can offer up to $25,000 for each demolition, but the average per-demolition assistance is expected to be $12,000.

Wade Kapszukiewicz, Lucas County treasurer and land bank chairman, said the additional money will allow the land bank to take down 100 homes, which is in addition to the 600 properties that are being removed with the earlier round of federal money.

The $7.2 million given to the county, Mr. Kapszukiewicz said, will help in preventing reduction in property values, and possible foreclosure of occupied residential homes nearby.

“We are fighting foreclosures by demolishing the worst of the worst blighted and abandoned structures,” he said. “Studies have shown that one of the biggest factors in causing people to move out of neighborhoods is the existence of vacant and blighted structures either next door or down the street.”

The money must be used to remove blighted properties before October, 2016.

Mr. Kapszukiewicz said the average cost locally for removing structures is about $8,000, about $4,000 less than the state average.

“That gives us more money to do more with,” he said.

Contact Mark Reiter at: markreiter@theblade.com or 419-724-6199.



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