Broadway Main Shelby

The Richland County Land Bank heard a proposal Wednesday that could lead to the demolition of the "biggest eyesore in Shelby" at the corner of Broadway and main streets. (Google Maps photo)

SHELBY -- A Shelby business owner is interested in a public/private partnership with the Richland County Land Bank that could result in the demolition of what was described Wednesday "as the biggest eyesore in Shelby."

Troy Baker, a financial adviser associated with the Edward Jones Co., has recently purchased four parcels at the northeast corner of Broadway and Main streets in Shelby.

The buildings, vacant and in a state of disrepair, have been used by various businesses over the years, including auto sales and repair. A couple of rental units on the have recently been vacated.

Baker, whose office is located nearby at 19 W. Main St., met with the Land Bank on Wednesday to go over his proposal, which would include the Land Bank assisting with the demolition of the buildings on the site.

Afterward, Baker said, he would like to build a new office building on the site, adding he has recently made improvements to his current site nearby.

Baker said he was born and raised in Shelby and has operated his business there for 20 years.

"I can remember what Main Street used to be," he said. "I have always told myself I would try to make it better. I want to clean up Shelby.

"Everything I have done has been with the (Community Improvement Corporation of Shelby) as well as the downtown revitalization project. This has got to be the biggest eyesore in Shelby," Baker said.

He said he had spoken to the owner of the nearby barber shop and leaders of a nearby church and said they are on board with his plans.

"I will pave the parking lot, redo the sidewalks and just clean up that whole property," he said, "with the long-range plan of building an office there."

Richland County Treasurer Bart Hamilton, chair of the Land Bank board, said recently the state's new budget set aside $500 million for demolition and brownfield remediation.

Each of the state's 88 counties is guaranteed $1.5 million from that fund, leaving $368 million "up for grabs" for projects. The rules governing those funds have not yet been released by the state, Hamilton said Wednesday.

"The biggest thing is we don't know the rules yet. We are waiting on the rules to come from the State of Ohio so we know what we could do and what we can't do," he said.

"I think it's a great idea from what I can gather," he said. "They just want our consideration. Hopefully, we are going to get the rules in another month or so. We will be able to know more then."

Hamilton told Land Bank board members there are a few underground tanks and also an oil change pits that will need to be handled during any demolition.

Baker reiterated he is not seeking to make a profit on the project.

"Obviously, I am not a developer. I spent my own money. Others (have looked at the property) in the past and backed out and I didn't. I have a passion for Shelby. I am not profiting from any of this. There is no profit on my end," Baker said.

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City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"