Commissioners Authorize Formation of Dilapidated Building Entity

Belmont County commissioners have authorized the establishment a non-government entity to address the issue of dilapidated buildings in the county, but don’t call it a land bank.

Commissioners voted unanimously on Wednesday to form the Belmont County Land Reutilization Corp., and they directed County Treasurer Kathy Kelich to file the paperwork needed to complete the incorporation. Commissioner Mark Thomas said commissioners met with Kelich and County Auditor Andy Sutak on Monday about the process, and all parties involved were on the same page with the idea.

Commissioner Ginny Favede said once the incorporation is complete, she then will take the next step and apply for a $500,000 grant available to the county through Ohio’s Hardest Hit Fund to take down dilapidated properties. Last week, commissioners heard a presentation from Thriving Communities Institute about how land banks can work toward obtaining title to abandoned properties, taking down dilapidated structures and later returning revitalized properties to county tax roles.

Favede said “This is an ability for us to help local government with something that plagues the county, and having the financial means to do it. Most municipalities have no money to take buildings down.”