NEW LEXINGTON — In November 2016, the Perry County Land Bank was awarded $525,000 from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency’s Neighborhood Improvement Program (NIP) to acquire and demolish abandoned, blighted properties and to return their parcels to productive, taxpaying use.

Soon after, the Lank Bank partnered with the Perry County Health Department to create the Construction and Demolition Debris (C&DD) Community Improvement Project. C&DD funding comes from the local landfills for collection of construction and demolition debris waste.

To date, the Perry County Board of Health has allocated $200,000 of C&DD funding for ongoing demolitions throughout Perry County to remove blighted housing, making county neighborhoods healthier, safer, and stabilizing property values.

October brought four demolitions, including three properties in New Lexington and one in Corning. Each property must first be inspected for asbestos, and if found, the asbestos must be remediated before demolition can occur. On average, it costs about $10,500 for demolition and cleanup, but can vary greatly based on structure size and asbestos remediation costs.

Drew Cannon, Vice Chair of the Perry County Land Bank, stated, “With the uncertain future of the NIP funding, it is hard to predict what the future of the Land Bank would have held if not for the C&DD Community Improvement Project funding by the Perry County Health Department.

“We are very fortunate to have this unique funding source that gives stability to the Perry County Land Bank while other Land Banks are unsure of their future funding sources.”

Once a property is acquired by the Perry County Land Bank either from the county forfeiture list or by donation and is identified for demolition, Perry County Health Department, 409 Lincoln Park Drive, P.O. Box 230, New Lexington, Ohio 43764; 740-342-5179; fax 740-342-5540; perrycountyhealth.info, the Land Bank will order an asbestos survey from a qualified asbestos consultant.

If the survey results indicate abatement is necessary, the Land Bank will contract with an asbestos contractor to comply with current EPA requirements. The Land Bank will prepare a detailed bid with specifications for demolition and solicit bids from qualified contractors. Properties are inspected to ensure that the contractor has fulfilled all contract requirements prior to release of the final payment.

Just this week, bids were awarded to Owens Farms and Spohn Excavating for the next round of demolitions. These will include six properties in New Lexington, and all have already been inspected for asbestos and remediated, if needed. Additionally, two properties are scheduled for asbestos remediation and four are awaiting inspection. Once completed, these properties will also go out for bid for demolition.

Once a dwelling has been demolished and the lot reclaimed, the property is placed for sale. Adjacent neighbors are given first consideration, and then other neighbors in the area would be considered. The idea is that the properties will be remediated back to a state that can be used for residential, or even commercial use.

Tim Cotterman, Perry County Board of Health President, commented, “The C&DD Community Improvement Project is putting this money to good use by investing it right here in our communities. These properties have been abandoned, forfeited, or repossessed and for years could have continued to cause issues in neighborhoods. We’re proud to partner with the Land Bank and bring life back to these areas.”

For more information about the Construction and Demolition Debris Community Improvement Project, visit perryhealth.com or call The Perry County Health Department at 740-342-5179.

Submitted by Carrie Williams, Perry County Health Department

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