Scioto County is on track to sell some of the 93 pieces of property belonging to the land bank. County Commissioner Bryan Davis said he expected the first few properties will be up for bid in August.
Davis met with other officials last month and decided on the best way to market the land. It was decided that those properties would be listed and available for closed bids. “Right now, we are in the process of getting the updated pictures.”
The county demolished over 100 properties back in 2019. A few of those properties were transferred to neighbors who agreed to maintain the land adjacent to their homes. Davis said it’s time to expand the program into sales. ” This is the first time we’ve gone out beyond mow to own and side lots.”
Commissioner Davis said the property will hit the marketplace just a few lots at a time.” The first five or six properties will be available in August. Then there’s a long list of properties that will be made available in August, September, and October.”
The reason for staggering the offerings is simple; saving money. “We’re going to do two months worth at a time to try to save some money on the listing. We feel that’s probably the fairest way to do this.”
But don’t bother bidding if you owe any back taxes. Anyone who is behind on tax payments of any kind is not allowed to bid on the property.
100 Blighted Houses
Commissioners said there is no word on any new funds from the government to pay for more property. “It’s unfortunate. It’s not on the front burner because of COVID. Those funds are there. They’re in the US Treasury. We would really like to see those distributed to the states.”
Davis said there are over 100 blighted houses that need to come down in the county. He checked one out personally earlier in the week. “I saw a house on Broadway in terrible shape. I went down and talked with neighbors. There’s squatters and drug activity. The police are there constantly.”
He admits to being frustrated. “Everything is at a snail’s pace. We don’t like working like that. But that’s the hand that’s been dealt to us.”
Rebuild Our City
Davis said his ultimate goal is new construction on sites where blighted houses are taken down. He realizes many people prefer to see remodeling but that most of the houses are past the point where they could be saved. “We can work with developers who are willing to build new in those spaces. We need to create affordable housing and to start building new. We’re living in a time of pandemic when developers and entrepreneurs are scared to move. It’s a timing issue.”
Davis said as the county sells properties, it will accumulate more money to use towards taking down blighted homes. When the properties are sold, the county’s costs for insurance and maintenance will go down as well. “The idea is to keep it going as long as we can.”