YMCA property - Park Avenue

The Richland County Land Bank board voted to take ownership of the former YMCA property at its meeting last Wednesday. 

MANSFIELD -- The Richland County Land Bank has its sights set on redevelopment of the former Mansfield YMCA’s property.

At its most recent meeting, the land bank board approved plans to take possession of the Park Avenue property, which has been a forfeiture for more than a year. 

The city of Mansfield had used a portion of its PRIDE funds in 2018 to demolish the three-story building, located at 455 Park Ave. Abestos removal began in November 2018, and the actual demolition began in mid-December. Page Excavating started by knocking down the back of the building and worked forward towards Park Avenue West.

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The demolition wrapped up earlier this year. The building’s remnants have been entirely removed from the property, and the ground was seeded, leaving the former eyesore to become a grassy patch. All this was done without taking ownership of the property.

The costs were to be assessed to the former owner, listed as “455 Park Avenue LLC” of Reynoldsburg, according to the Richland County Auditor’s Office.

However, since the property was already a forfeiture, it seemed unlikely the costs would be covered by the current owner. The land bank board determined the best path forward would be to take ownership. 

“We’ve had a lot of interest in (redeveloping) the property … and either way, it was going to get to this point,” Land Bank manager Amy Hamrick said.

The board’s decision, she continued, essentially accelerates the inevitable and allows for the land bank to mow and maintain the property. 

The property’s long term future is still unknown, but Hamrick did share that she’s had several inquiries about the space.

“I am talking to several different interested properties, but we’re not to that point yet,” she said. 

The land bank’s board will ultimately decide who will become its next owner. In past scenarios, the board has shown preference to adjacent property owners. 

The former YMCA was constructed in the 1950's and expanded in the 1960s. After Mansfield's YMCA moved to Scholl Road in 2000, the building on Park Avenue was used as a school. Later it sold to an individual who reportedly wanted to transform the space into apartments, but that never happened.

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