NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Feb. 24, 2022) – Tuscarawas County leaders are preparing to accept the county’s share of the $150-million lawmakers set aside in the state’s latest budget to help communities tear down blighted structures.
The commissioners on Wednesday created a new fund to accept the money, although Community and Economic Development Director Scott Reynolds says when it might arrive isn’t clear.
“How long it will take them to review what they get and issue actual agreements with the counties, I don’t know how long that’s going to take.”
Counties can request up to a half-million dollars each through the Building Demolition and Site Revitalization Program administered by the Ohio Department of Development. Reynolds says that’s more than enough to cover the 15 requests his office received from communities throughout Tuscarawas County.
“The initial set-aside for the county without requiring a match from the locals is up to $500,000 and we’re just under $400,000 at this point so we should be able to fund all of them.”
Commissioner Al Landis says this funding will go a long way in helping communities that might not otherwise be able to afford to tear down unsightly and potentially dangerous structures, which can become hot spots for drug activity.
“When we can take [them] down and get them cleaned up, I think it does a great service to the community and to the efforts on the addiction crisis.”
The county will be entering into reimbursement agreements with the participating communities which include New Philadelphia, Dover, Dennison, and Newcomerstown. Reynolds says they also received a request from the East Central Ohio Educational Service Center, which is seeking funding to tear down a decaying house next to its headquarters.