Clark County to spend $25K on land bank set up (Springfield News-Sun)

Clark County commissioners are expected to spend $25,000 to hire a consultant to help set up a land bank.

Clark County Treasurer Stephen Metzger said the county currently has 600 parcels that account for up to $5 million of delinquent properties in the county.

Metzger said he hopes a land bank could help the county find buyers for the vacant houses and properties.

“My hope is that we can do something to move them to private individuals or businesses. The city has been active in taking down abandoned property, hopefully, we can help them,” Metzger said.

Last month, County Commissioners John Detrick and David Hartley voted to allow county officials to file documents to incorporate the Clark County Land Re-utilization Corp., a land bank that would allow the entire county to speed up the process of returning blighted and abandoned properties into productive uses.

Rick Lohnes abstained on the land bank vote, saying he wanted more information. He’s leaning toward supporting the land bank, Lohnes said, but wants to make sure it’s clear that it will be operated by a non-profit organization and that local government officials won’t tell people what they can and cannot do with their land.

Area leaders began have been mulling the possibility of establishing a land bank since Cuyahoga County established one in 2009.

County Administrator Nathan Kennedy told commissioners he anticipates the county would be eligible for $500,000 to $1 million in grant money if officials established a land bank, which is a non-profit organization that can take foreclosed properties and rehabilitate them to make them reusable or demolish structures.

The land bank is a separate entity from the county, would have its own staff and the county would not own property, Kennedy said.

However, two county commissioners and the county treasurer would be required to be on the board, he said.

Commissioners will discuss land bank members at the commission meeting at 6 p.m. today.

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