1 year in, Allen County Land Bank ahead of requirements

LIMA — The Allen County Land Bank is well ahead of its mandate from the state, with money set to be coming back for reimbursements for demolished blighted properties, according to Allen County Treasurer Rachael Gilroy.

Now one year into its existence, the Land Bank has reached the end of its grant fund period and has applied for more than $1 million in reimbursement, Gilroy said.

“That equals 61 completed projects that have been paid for and filed for reimbursement,” she said. “As soon as that funding is reimbursed, we’ll be able to get our next set. It’s already paid for, for the most part. We might be lacking getting the greening paid for, but when we get the reimbursement, that will finish up those payments and we’ll get those reimbursed.”

To qualify for state reimbursement, the land bank had to have a quarter of its acquired properties demolished by Nov. 18. According to Gilroy, the land bank has now demolished more than half its properties within that timeframe.

“We’re at about 214 properties that our funding should cover,” she said.

Gilroy anticipates part of the reimbursement to come in within the next week, while the rest of the amount should come in within three weeks. In the meantime, the land bank has expanded its capacity to tear down blighted houses.

“While the weather is good, we still have crews out working,” she said. “We have a new demolition contractor that’s working for us for the first time this week. That’s exciting for us because we’re certainly promoting competition among the local businesses.”

The average cost for demolition per property has continued to hover around $17,000, Gilroy said, with the state able to reimburse up to $25,000 per property.

By Craig Kelly

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Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.