Blighted properties continue to be one of the biggest problems in Warren, and a significant roadblock to economic progress. Thanks to the Land Bank and TNP, we have made a lot of progress demolishing and rehabilitating residential properties, but much less has been done to deal with our many vacant commercial structures, most of which need to be demolished.
Unfortunately, funding for commercial demolitions is much harder to come by, and the costs are astronomical. We have heard estimates as high as $8-10 million just to take down the former St. Joseph Hospital (above) on Tod Avenue, for example.
An amendment was recently proposed to the Ohio state budget bill that would create and fund a program designed to assess, demolish, and, in some circumstances, remediate the problems associated with commercial and industrial blight.
The amendment would create a $50 million fund to be administered by the Director of the Department of Development Services. The Trumbull County Land Banks would be able to apply for use of these funds. While $50 million, statewide, is just a down payment on the problem, this proposal would represent an important chance for Trumbull County to begin to deal with this issue.
If you agree, you might let state rep Mike O’Brien (614-466-5358), and State Senator Sean O’Brien (614-466-7182) know how you feel and ask them to support the amendment.