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home : local news : local news August 21, 2017

8/9/2017 4:00:00 PM
Questions regarding County Land Bank aired during Wellston Council meeting

Associate Editor

Questions were raised during a recent meeting of Wellston City Council regarding the Jackson County Land Reutilization Corporation's, or Land Bank's, recent acquisition of six properties. The question, posed by Council President Chris Brenner and elaborated upon by Mayor Connie Pelletier, was asking why all of these properties were in the City of Jackson.

During the Thursday, Aug. 3 council meeting, Mayor Pelletier stated she has already spoken to Commissioner Paul Haller and Wellston City Engineer Tim Wojdacz, both of whom are members of the Land Bank board, about the issue.

To help explain the issue further, Wojdacz stated that the Land Bank is in the process of trying to acquire properties in the county that "nobody else basically wants." These properties, he said, will have already gone through the foreclosure process and have been made available through the county auditor's office and website. If neither of these processes result in a property being acquired privately, they will immediately be transferred to the Land Bank, Wojdacz stated.

All of the six properties recently acquired by the Land Bank, he explained, had gone through these processes.

Further, Wojdacz said the Land Bank is wanting to obtain more properties, as the group needs at least 10 by Aug. 10, which is the deadline for the Neighborhood Initiative Program application through the Ohio Housing Finance Agency. This program allows for funding assistance for such things as demolition, remediation and greening for blighted properties, and for administration costs for up to three years.

Holzer Medical Center

"If there are more properties in Wellston that meet the criteria, we would love to have them," Wojdacz said. "It's not a case of there being preferential treatment."

During its most recent meeting, the Land Bank board approved a plan naming the county's target area, which includes all of Jackson, Wellston and Oak Hill as well as all townships that are directly connected to these areas.

Wojdacz also invited all of council and Pelletier to the Land Bank's next meeting, which is set for Tuesday, Aug. 22 at 10:30 a.m.

In other business:

• The third and final reading of Resolution 2017-32 was conducted. This item of legislation, which was ultimately approved by council, authorizes the mayor to enter into an indigent defense with the Jackson County Commissioners for the second half of 2017 in an amount of $9,979.33.

• The second reading of Ordinance 2017-33 was conducted. This legislation is meant to amend existing city ordinances pertaining to swimming pools and residential fences and/or hedges.

• Mayor Pelletier stated a cleanup day event, sponsored by the Wellston Main Street organization, will be held Saturday, Aug. 12 beginning at 9 a.m. This event will be geared toward cleaning up the city's downtown area.

• In an update regarding grass-cutting in the city, Mayor Pelletier provided a list of new properties that have failed to follow the city ordinance. These properties are 322 N. Michigan Ave., 323 W. B St., 701 S. Connecticut Ave., 813 S. Connecticut Ave., 15 S. Michigan Ave., 114 S. Ohio Ave., 14 E. 10th St., 16 E. 10th St., 30 E. 10th St., and 415 Minnesota Ave. Out of the previous 58 properties, 25 have been mowed, according to Pelletier. "Some of those 25 have not been touched in years," Pelletier said. "We are making progress, but it is slow."

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