Ritter's Run project

Area Agency on Aging will build a 12-unit senior housing at 200 Ohio St. in Mansfield.

MANSFIELD ─ The Richland County Land Bank is going to reimburse the District 5 Area Agency on Aging $61,500 for an extra cost related to the Ritter’s Run senior housing project.

The land bank board voted for the reimbursement in its Wednesday meeting under the condition the land bank will not contribute to the demolition at the Linden Pool. The land bank has been in conversations with the agency about starting another senior apartment project on that site.

The land bank transferred the property at 200 Ohio St. to the Area Agency on Aging in March. With Mansfield City Council’s approval, the agency received $600,000 through the Home Investment Partnership Program to execute the Ritter’s Run project.

Teresa Cook, vice president of administrative services for the agency, said the organization will build six one-bedroom and six two-bedroom units. Residents will be able to contact a staff member for questions about services, transportation or meals.

Cook said the rent will start at $684 a month with all appliances and parking included. All units will lease at below-market rent to qualified residents.

About two weeks ago, contractors found concrete slabs from previous buildings buried four feet underground. Cook said the material could decompose over time and it is unknown what is underneath the concrete.

According to the engineering firm’s recommendation, Cook said the most viable option was to remove the soil and bring in good fill, which will cause $61,500. The agency asked for the land bank’s reimbursement on Wednesday.

Land bank vice board chair Jeff Parton and board member Tony Vero were not pleased with the request at first. Parton said he was disappointed the agency didn't ask private donors or seek other assistance before coming to the land bank.

However, he also agreed it would be a long-term project with other potential locations in Richland County in the future and the land bank may contribute money, anyway. He voted for the reimbursement.

“We've been working with the Area Agency on trying to come up with some projects for about five years … we're all gonna stay together and make this happen,” he said.

Board chair Bart Hamilton said the land bank made a similar reimbursement in the past. It is also too late for the agency to refinance the project because it has received the federal funding and the bank loans.

Hamilton said the land bank has talked with the Area Agency on Aging about building senior housing at the Linden Pool. It had planned to demolish the facility and receive payment from the agency for the work. With the reimbursement at Ritter’s Run project, the board decided not to execute the Linden Pool’s demolishment.

Hamilton said the tentative plan instead is selling the parcel at $61,500 to the agency.

Cook said the agency will have its board meeting on Thursday and discuss the land bank’s resolution, which she said was a “good starting point.” The agency is looking to built 24 units at the Linden Pool after it gets the board’s approval.

In contrast, North End Community Improvement Collaborative (NECIC) notified the land bank in early December that it will not move forward with its affordable housing project.

The land bank has kept multiple parcels for the project and waited for NECIC to get federal funding, which it has not been able to do. Richland Source could not reach NECIC on Wednesday for the reason of the project’s suspension.

Support Our Journalism

Do you want to know the who, what, where, why and how in local news? Become a Source member to support the most diverse coverage of our region.