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The Suburbanite
  • Springfield blighted structures set for demolition

  • A recent demolition project on Abington Road was “the first in a series” of demolitions that are being funded by Moving Ohio Forward Demolition Grant program. The township has the use of $381,037 to remove blighted properties and has approximately 30 structures scheduled to be torn down.

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  • Cheers were heard in the area of Abington Road in Springfield Township June 1 as the last wall of a blighted home came crashing down. The structure was reduced to a pile of rubble within minutes after the first hit from the bucket on the steam shovel. Neighbors were on hand to watch and show their thanks with cheers and whistles.
    The house was beyond repair. Water damage to the roof forced it to collapse and that lead to water damage, mold and mildew throughout the structure. There were holes in the walls, odds and ends of furniture left behind and dog toys strewn about.
    Multiple tires were taken from the yard as well as large plastic toys and other items.
    Zoning officials said that this home was one of the better ones.
    Spectator Rachel Portmann said she had seen three raccoons peaking out of the windows the night before.
    "It was like they were living there and just looking out saying hello," Portmann said.
    Neighbors said they have been waiting a long time for this.
    GOOD-BYE, BLIGHT
    According to Trustee Dean Young said the demolition project on Abington Road was “the first in a series” of demolitions that are being funded by Moving Ohio Forward Demolition Grant program. The township has the use of $381,037 to remove blighted properties and has approximately 30 structures scheduled to be torn down.
    The grant came through Attorney General Mike DeWine's office.
    In March 2012 DeWine settled with some of the nation's largest mortgage services over foreclosure abuse, fraud and unfair and deceptive practices. Ohioans received a share of the $330 million in settlement.
    DeWine set up the Moving Ohio Forward Grant of $75 million. Each of the 88 Ohio counties received its share of the money to demolish vacant, abandoned and blighted properties that detract from existing home values.
    Springfield Zoning Administrator Patricia Ryan said Summit County took the lead on this grant and communities interested in the grant had to show a need.
    "We identified the vacant and blighted properties in the Township and made a list. We had a significant number," Ryan said.
    Summit County had approximately $3.7 million to divide up to all the entities that were interested.
    There are about 260 homes in Springfield Township that are empty or in disrepair. Young said he is not sure all of them are candidates for removal. "These blighted houses need to go," Young said.
    SPRINGFIELD’S SHARE
    Springfield's $381,037 is made up of a $100,000 local fund contribution, $100,000 Moving Ohio Forward Grant matching funds, $131,037 from Summit County Land Reutilization Corp and $50,000 high density vacancy.
    The township has the rest of the year to use the funds.
    Some matching funds are available to property owners that need to tear down blighted structures. The property owner pays 50 percent of the demolition cost, or the cost can be placed on the tax duplicate of the property.
    Page 2 of 2 - Each property is surveyed for asbestos and then abated if found. When the property comes down, all utilities are cut, the septic is crushed and all buildings on the property come down. The rubble is carried away and the area leveled and seeded.
    Any items in the home have to be taken to a different dump site from the actual building materials due to costs.
    Multiple notifications are sent months in advance of demolition. In the event an owner cannot be found, the department puts notification in the newspapers that the house is to be demolished.
    "We do everything we can to notify people," said Ryan.
    It also is an advantage to home owners in the area of the dilapidated home.
    "If you are keeping your property up and you are living in an area that has a house and the windows are knocked out and it is in a total state of disrepair, it knocks down your property values," Ryan said. "No one wants to look at it. By cleaning it out, eventually the property values of the surrounding homes go up."
    For more information on the program call the Zoning Department 330-794-0134.

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