Coventry Township officials are working through a program that helps to revitalize neigborhoods by removing blighted structures.
Since receiving more than $30,000 in funding from the Moving Ohio Forward Grant funding earlier this year, township officials have wasted little time moving the township’s own neighborhood revitalization efforts forward.
“Every community had the right to opt in and the money can be used anywhere in the township,” Trustee Tom Seese said. “We identified the houses in the worst and most unsafe shape, then we had to get the permission of the person or bank that owns the property.”
Seese said $15,000 in local funds has been earmarked to help pay for the costs in demolishing properties throughout the township.
With five buildings already razed, Seese said township officials are close to securing the necessary permissions to continue with demolition of six more properties. For the township, it’s a race against the clock as grant funding must be used by the end of the year.
“We would like to do more, but we don’t have the funding,” Seese said. “These houses are all empty and have been vacant for a number of years.”
Both the cost for demolition and the condition of each structure targeted for demolition has varied greatly, Seese said.
“One on Lockwood Road is in horrible condition and the only person attached to the house is in Federal prison,” Seese said. “And, we tore down a fairly nice home that had been empty for several years and was infested with mold. We’ve (demolished) some for $5,000 or $6,000, and we have also run into some with asbestos, which has to be abated and is an additional cost.”
At a recent trustee meeting, a motion was approved to hire asbestos abatement company HEPA Environmental, at a cost of $10,750, for asbestos testing of properties at 3555 Portage Point, 3363 Cottage Grove, 3462 Dollar Drive, 428 Killian Road and 281 Hohman Drive.
Zoning Inspector George Beckham requested additional demolitions at 660 Fruit Drive, 640 Fruit Drive, 283 Iris Avenue, 46 Organ Avenue, 965 Portage Lakes Drive, 1344 Lockwood Road, 730 Chenoweth Road, and 1175 Lockwood Road.
Along with simply “cleaning up the neighborhoods,” Seese said the house razing program presents the township a number of options. He explained that state mandates allow the vacated property to be split between adjacent property owners or used in some manner by the township itself.
“It might seem far-fetched in some cases, but there is a lot we could do,” he said. “In most cases, the (vacant) property comes to the township, so we could look at things like Habitat for Humanity (homes.)”