County Land Bank Demolishes Blighted Properties

LISBON, Ohio – The Columbiana County Office of Economic Development, headed by Executive Director Tad Herold, is working on a multitude of projects, including an extensive land bank program.

Herold says the department continues, as it has since inception of the Columbiana County Land Reutilization Corp., to administer the land bank that’s designed to eliminate blighted properties.

With 100% federal funding, the land bank this year completed demolitions through the Neighborhood Initiative Program, making strides in several communities.

Among those, Herold reports, was the demolition of 118 properties in East Liverpool at a cost of $1.5 million; demolition of 19 properties in Salem at more than $275,000; and demolition of 48 properties in Wellsville, costing $525,000.

Another 24 demolitions across seven jurisdictions were undertaken with delinquent tax assessment and collection funds; two with Lead Initiative Program funds; and 17 private demolitions were accomplished. The land bank was involved this year with 25 rehabilitation projects, Herold adds.

Redevelopment projects aimed at bringing properties back into high-value use were also undertaken by the land bank. Among them were brownfield cleanup projects in Salineville and Columbiana. The land bank also awarded seven beautification grants.

Three new Community Reinvestment Areas have been established in the county this year, including in the city of Columbiana and the villages of Leetonia and Lisbon. Herold’s office also assisted Perry Township with an application for a CRA; it is being reviewed by state officials.

Meanwhile, for the first time in 20 years, a countywide visitors’ bureau is in place with the creation of the Columbiana County Visitors Bureau.

“It is hoped that by taking a countywide approach, we can attract more visitors and make marketing more affordable,” Herold says.

In collaboration with county Auditor Nancy Milliken, the county’s first-ever Geographic Information System was unveiled after a multi-year project. The county economic development office worked with Ohio University’s Voinovich School to develop a parcel layer for the entire county and design and make live two web portals for GIS data.

Herold says that this year his office oversaw a review of all tax incentives previously granted by county authorities; continued to assist many entities with grant applications and administration; and hosted the “Conversations with Columbiana County” podcast.