Ohio counties are getting more time to apply for money to tear down vacant and abandoned properties.
Brian Bull of member station WCPN in Cleveland reports.
Originally, the deadline to apply for what are called Moving Ohio Forward demolition grant funds was New Year’s Eve. But now the State Attorney General’s Office says that’s been pushed to May 31st of 2014.
Among those breathing a sigh of relief is Janice Switzer. She’s Director of Community Services and Planning for Ashtabula County. It’s eligible for half a million dollars to tear down roughly a hundred vacant properties across the county, but Switzer says it’s been hard finding time to do all the paperwork.
JSwitzer01: “It’s good news for us, we don’t have to work so diligently to get it sent before the end of this year.” (:05)
Switzer says the wet spring has delayed some demolitions, while staffing challenges have also held up the process. But she says communities are eager to demolish many of these vacant properties, which have been blamed for sinking property values while raising crime rates.
JSwitzer02: “Our cities of Conneaut and Ashtabula, both have significant amounts of abandoned properties that need to be demolished. And even in townships, when you have one or two blighted, abandoned properties, it is bad for the community.” (:18)
Ohio was the only state to use part of its share of the National Mortgage Settlement for demolitions. The State Attorney General’s Office says more than 47-hundred sites have since been torn down across Ohio.