Thursday, February 21st, 2013
By Shelley Grieshop
Grant used to demolish houses
  Nine blighted homes in five local communities have been razed using funds from a Moving Ohio Forward grant.
The demolished homes were located in Celina, Fort Recovery, St. Henry, Coldwater and Wabash.
Jared Ebbing, director of Mercer County's economic development office, said the grant program - funded by lenders penalized for the recent housing market crisis - is a plus for local communities.
"I'd say that overall this program was a good use of the Attorney General's Mortgage Settlement Funds," he said. "From our county's perspective, the funds were set aside, and if we didn't use them, another county would."
Funds for the federal program were derived from a $25 billion settlement with the nation's five largest mortgage lenders for foreclosure abuses, fraud and unacceptable mortgage practices.
The county in August received a $123,000 grant and has until Dec. 31 to tear down qualifying buildings. Approximately $49,000 remains unspent and will be used to demolish more eligible homes, Ebbing said.
The homes already torn down were at 1031 E. Livingston St., 5683 Oregon Road, 4802 state Route 703, 7781 Erastus-Durbin Road and 6491 Meyer Road, all of Celina; 610 S. Wayne St., Fort Recovery; 251 W. Columbus St., St. Henry; 323 E. North St., Coldwater; and 0 Church St., Wabash.
St. Henry Village Administrator Ron Gelhaus said the property already demolished on Columbus Street was old and in need of repair.
"Sometimes it's not feasible (for owners) to remodel when a structure gets to that age," he said.
When money isn't available for renovations or demolition, blighted homes can create a negative effect on whole neighborhoods, Gelhaus said.
"Tearing them down improves the quality of the neighborhood and can raise property values for everyone," he added.
A total of 32 blighted properties throughout the county were submitted for consideration by a committee of local leaders. Each community seeking the funds was required to obtain letters of consent from property owners and provide other proof to verify the structures legally could be demolished.
Several factors helped trim the application list. The local health department was tapped to furnish a listing of nuisance complaints or other public health problems at some of the proposed sites. The county treasurer also was quizzed about properties with a history of delinquent taxes.
Additional online stories for this date
Print edition only stories for this date
• Turbine construction not subject to zoning
• Bremen students told to make a difference
• Coldwater couple receives Citizen of the Year award
• Emergency management director addresses Rotary
• Man sentenced to 40-year prison term for sex charges
• Police investigating man's death
• Avett Brothers conjure up old-time sounds
• Second-seeded Cavs upset by the Pirates
• Bulldogs trying to keep Bath from title
• St. Henry in position to win MAC title
a_d
Today
57°
Rain Showers Likely
95%
Tonight
48°
Rain Showers
100%
Tomorrow
48°
Chance Rain Showers
74%
Tomorrow Night
28°
Slight Chance Rain Showers
23%
Tuesday
34°
Mostly Cloudy
12%
Tuesday Night
23°
Mostly Cloudy
10%
Wednesday
36°
Mostly Cloudy
18%
Wednesday Night
27°
Chance Snow
33%
Thanksgiving Day
33°
Chance Snow
33%
Thursday Night
19°
Mostly Cloudy
13%
Friday
30°
Mostly Cloudy
11%
Friday Night
22°
Partly Cloudy
11%
3 Day
Extended
a_da_d