MANSFIELD -- The Richland County Land Bank manager Amy Hamrick is optimistic about the potential to knock out dozens of demolitions this summer by spending the organization’s remaining $354,000 in already available Neighborhood Initiative Program funds and applying for even more funding.
Hamrick explained that a sum of $40 million is offered this year through the Neighborhood Initiative Program (NIP), and it will be divvied by Ohio-based land banks on a first-come, first-serve basis, but isn’t accessible until land banks have spent their already available NIP funds, or the nearly $354,000 in Richland County’s case.
“So basically after our money is gone, I’m going to send them a property, get it OK'd and then they’ll hold those funds for 90 days,” Hamrick said. “It’s allocated and must be spent within 90 days, or it goes back in the pot, and we can reapply.”
As of May 15, she had a list of 41 properties lined up for possible demolition with NIP funds, which will total an estimated $704,522. These include several houses on Diamond, First, Third and Fourth Streets and others on Bartley, Crall, Harding and more than 20 other streets.
At its regular meeting Wednesday, the land bank board also approved demolition contracts with R & D Excavating on Sturges and Douglas Avenues, costing $49,000 and $34,000 respectively. The land bank has requested exact addresses be excluded from this report to prevent vandalism or trash dumping at these locations.
The house on Douglas Avenue, Hamrick noted, was an important demolition due to its proximity to the former YMCA on Park Avenue, which was demolished earlier this year and continues to be cleaned up.
It and the Sturges Avenue property were already included on Hamrick’s list, but the board approved making these demolitions priorities at her request.
These and other demolitions, she believes, will “go relatively quickly” if the weather stays dry.
“Just pray that I get some dry weather,” she said.
Her hope is that NIP funds could cover all $704,522 worth of demolitions -- all 41 properties on her list. This means the land bank would need an additional $350,833 in NIP funds, a figure Hamrick says the land bank could afford on its own if NIP funds don’t come through.
“If I don’t get NIP funds, we have to know we have the funds to cover it. I don’t want to end up in the hole afterwards. That’s the scary part. How much can we cover if we don’t get the NIP (funds)?” she said.
She expects the land bank’s board will continue that conversation in upcoming meetings to determine the best approach.