LIMA — The Allen County Land Bank received $4.5 million in Neighborhood Initiative Program funds to demolish blighted houses in the county.
“We’re obviously very excited,” Allen County Treasurer Rachael Gilroy said. “Cuyahoga County was the highest funded, and we were the second-highest funded, and I think that says a lot for the application that we put together and the need we have here in the county. I can’t wait to get started making a difference in Allen County.”
Currently, the land bank has 313 properties in Lima and in the county in the pipeline for potential demolition. Gilroy believes that, with lower demolition costs in the county, a significant portion of that list could be completed with these funds.
“We’re ready to begin in earnest,” she said. “According to their formula, the minimum covered would be 180 properties. But there’s a good chance we could get an awful lot, if not the entire list of the properties we’ve submitted, down with the money we’ve been allocated.”
Gilroy credits a large number of area partners in making this grant allocation happen, including Phil Downing of Downing Community Advisors, the Allen County Prosecutors Office, Allen County Commissioners, the Allen Economic Development Group, Thom Mazur at the Lima-Allen County Regional Planning Commission, Western Reserve Land Conservancy and the municipal and township leadership throughout the county. For Gilroy, this project is significant in that it can help improve not just area property values, but also safety and even community pride.
“We’ll be tearing down houses with drug activity, that have rodents in them and are bringing down the property values in neighboring areas,” she said. “It will provide stabilization and beautification in their areas and hopefully pride back in the neighborhoods.”
Demolition activity is expected to pick up in coming weeks, according to Gilroy.
Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.