LIMA — As the Allen County Land Reutilization Corporation, or Land Bank, continues to establish itself, Allen County treasurer Rachael Gilroy is optimistic that it will be ready for the next round of federal funds earmarked to bring down blighted houses.
“Ohio has received $94 million (in Hardest Hit funds),” she said. “It’s a little bit less than they anticipated receiving.”
In Washington, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, had released a statement criticizing that total, hoping that more money would be funneled to Ohio to help demolish delinquent properties. The state had previously received $97 million in a previous disbursement of Hardest Hit funds, intended to address housing issues in states affected by the recent mortgage crisis.
“I am disappointed that Ohio received just $94 million out of the $250 million that was requested during this second phase,” he said. “I am pleased the state will have the opportunity to re-apply for additional funds in the future. I have worked on this issue for many years, and I will continue to assist state and local officials in the broader effort to restore the integrity of our local communities.”
Gilroy does not anticipate this lower total to have an effect on the land bank’s goals, with the organization hopeful to bring down between 300 and 400 houses.
“It appears from the meetings we’ve been at that the larger land banks have already used the bulk of the funding that they needed, and their need isn’t so great anymore,” she said. “So that will free up more money for the other land banks.”
Having a second disbursement is also advantageous to the county, Gilroy said, in that it prolongs the timeline to get more properties into the pipeline for demolition.
“The application will be open in September, so that gives us a few more months to prepare these properties for movement into the demolition process, and that’s good,” she said. “That allows us to move even more properties and target even more properties that we didn’t think we’d have the opportunity to get.”
Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.