LIMA — Work is continuing to address the issue of dilapidated housing in Lima and Allen County, with the Allen County Land Bank nearly set to file for demolition grant funding and the city of Lima addressing calls for the creation of its own land bank manager.
During a meeting held Monday at the Allen County Commissioners Office, Allen County Land Bank officials said a grant application will be ready to submit to the Ohio Housing Finance Agency before the application deadline set for Friday. Allen County Treasurer Rachael Gilroy is optimistic that Allen County’s grant application will be one of the most comprehensive in the state.
“The data required by the grant is very substantial,” she said. “They look at 19 indicators across the county to help determine the need for the grant, things like unemployment in the area, rates of homeownership, foreclosures, rental rates, code violations and things like that. So many numbers go into the data we’re submitting.”
Gilroy said that with more properties being added to the proposal, each with the potential for up to $20,000 in demolition funding, the county could be up for as much as $7.5 million in grant funds.
While the city has its own land bank, its work has ground to a halt with the property maintenance inspector who had been overseeing the work leaving the city for different employment. Community Development Director Amy Sackman Odum took her case for the creation of a new land bank manager position to the Lima Economic and Community Development Committee on Monday and said that while the county will be focused on demolition, marketing and aggregating the vacant lots in the city will require having a separate land bank manager.
“The land bank is not property maintenance, but economic development,” she said.
Because of uncertainty of the long-term sustainability and function of the position, the committee voted to create a land bank manager position as a contract position only for up to one year, giving City Council the chance to see the work being done and evaluating its viability.
“Let’s see what kind of results we get,” 4th Ward Councilwoman Rebecca Kreher said. “It will help us know where we’re going to go over the next few years.”
Lima City Council will consider this ordinance at its next regular meeting Sept. 12.
Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.