Staff Report TDSnews@civitasmedia.com
February 5, 2014
COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced on Tuesday the award of more than $3.8 million in additional demolition grants to 87 of Ohio’s 88 counties. The additional grants were a reallocation of unrequested funds from the Ohio Attorney General’s “Moving Ohio Forward” program.
Meigs and Gallia counties will each receive an additional $7,800.
“The Ohio Attorney General’s ‘Moving Ohio Forward’ program’ has been successful in helping the many Ohioans who were victims of neighborhood blight caused by the foreclosure crisis,” DeWine said. “By demolishing abandoned, blighted homes, we have been making a real effort to help stabilize neighborhoods and remove public safety hazards. I am pleased to make these additional funds available so counties can demolish additional structures.”
The “Moving Ohio Forward” program helps stabilize and improve communities by removing blighted and abandoned homes with funds from the national mortgage settlement reached in 2012. The demolition program requires a lead entity, such as a land bank or local government, apply for the funds on behalf of each county in Ohio.
DeWine designated $75 million of Ohio’s settlement share for the demolition program, allocating funds to each of Ohio’s 88 counties based upon the percentage of foreclosures that occurred in that county between 2008 and 2010, the period of the settlement. In Phase One of the grants, counties were required to provide matching funds for any grant above $500,000. However, several counties did not apply for their full allocation, leaving almost $3.83 million in unrequested funds.
Gallia County’s original allocation was $89,019, while Meigs County’s original allocation was $63,269.
For Phase Two grants, DeWine has reallocated the unrequested funds based upon the same formula as the original allocations, with each county receiving a minimum of $7,800 for the demolition of at least one more blighted structure. Counties that did not use their full allocation in Phase One of the grants were given the opportunity to request funds from their unused allocation to fund specific demolition projects. Warren County was the only county that declined additional grant funding.
DeWine said counties will have until Sept. 30 to use the Phase Two grant funds, and no matching funds will be required to utilize the Phase Two grants. Counties have until May 31 to use the Phase One grant funds. A decision on unused grant funds from Phase One would be made after that time.