By Linda Dillman
Madison Township officials added to their Franklin County wish list of deteriorated structures they want demolished.
The demolitions are made possible by the Central Ohio Community Improvement Corporation Land Bank (COCIC), which enables the county to take control of vacant and tax-delinquent blighted properties.
The Madison Township trustees forwarded properties on Saltzgaber, Sedalia and Beechton roads to the land bank after being declared nuisances. Property owners, including banks and an individual, were notified of the intent to demolish the structures after they were deemed unfit for human habitation.
“These are not just homes people have not lived in for a year,” said Madison Township Administrator Susan Brobst. “These are homes with structural damage. Some of them have three to five feet of water in the basement. These are homes that cannot be rehabilitated.”
According to Brobst, Fire Marshal Richard Steltzer inspects the properties before they are declared nuisances and forwarded to the county for further action. Mold, standing water and holes in the roof are common among the properties.
The trustees approved legislation for demolition participation agreements for the parcels. Any costs over $20,000 would be borne by the township, who would then file liens against the properties.
Homes on Clearwater, Fontaine, Oregon, Shoreline and Zimmer roads were also added to the land bank list after the trustees approved demolition participation agreements for each one.
Franklin County Treasurer Ed Leonard said funding for the land bank is generated through penalty and interest paid by delinquent taxpayers. The county works with local and state partners, as well as private and non-profit agencies, to rehabilitate or demolish buildings with the goal of returning the properties to productive use.
An $8.2 million Moving Ohio Forward grant provides matching funds used for the demolition of vacant and abandoned residential buildings. Grant funding combined with demolition funds from the COCIC and the city of Columbus will create the opportunity for approximately $16 million in countywide demolitions, which could lead to the removal of up to 1,200 blighted residential properties.
Local officials were asked to help the COCIC review and identify vacant and abandoned properties that could qualify for demolition, after they are acquired through the foreclosure process.