ASHLAND — The Ashland Land Bank plans on pursuing Ohio Department of Development (ODOD) grant money to demolish two industrial properties and 10 houses — all in Ashland.

“The economic development office plans to submit our grant by the end of next week,” said Ashland Mayor Matt Miller.

The mayor also serves as a board member on the land bank.

The city’s economic development office, also known as Grow Ashland, is leading the land bank’s effort to receive $500,000 of ODOD money for demolitions.

The application for that money is due by April 2024, but officials say time is of the essence. 

The list of properties includes: 

  • Pioneer National Latex
  • Caraustar
  • 341 Cleveland Ave.
  • 511 West Liberty St.
  • 32 West 10th St.
  • 576 West 16th St.
  • 622 Chestnut St. 
  • 1456 Troy Road
  • 803 Union St. 
  • 213 Vine St. 
  • 1125 Shady Lane
  • 329 Dorchester St.

“The quicker we get the application in, the quicker the state reviews it,” Miller said.

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Kent McGovern, an at-large land bank board member, expressed concern over the list of properties, noting the absence of demolitions the board has known about in Perry Township, Loudonville and Perrysville, among others.

Miller said the industrial clean-up sites will have a greater economic impact.

“These industrial projects will have the greatest impact. That’s all there is to it,” Miller said. “They’re high-dollar projects and there is a future use afterwards that is beneficial to more than just the entity that’s being impacted.”

Nevertheless, the land bank plans to send a letter to all village and township officials across the county seeking suggestions for demolitions in those jurisdictions, said Bill Harvey, the land bank’s director.

They will have until Dec. 31 to respond, Harvey said.

“Once we get those by Dec. 31, we’ll review them and see if there is a role the land bank can play in helping them clean it up,” Miller said. “We’ll figure out if there are state grant dollars or existing land bank money to address their properties.” 

Explaining the ODOD grant

The 12 properties discussed on Friday are being considered for grant funding from the Ohio Building Demolition and Site Revitalization Program. The funds are administered through the ODOD.

There is a total of $150 million the state allocated in the biennium budget. Each county qualifies for up to $500,000 of no-match grants.

The leftover money is available on a first-come, first-serve basis to counties that apply for more and require a 25% match. 

The grant application process will be led by Grow Ashland. The land bank will technically be a sub-recipient of any grant awarded.

A document shared with land bank board members on Friday showed Pioneer National Latex, Caraustar and 341 Cleveland Ave. getting priority consideration for the $500,000 no-match grant. 

The other nine properties, all residential in the city of Ashland, were listed as possibilities for the left-over grant money, which require a 25% match.

In an interview after the meeting, Miller said the Caraustar property, in downtown Ashland, could be considered as a recipient for the 25% match category.

What about the Johnny Appleseed amphitheater?

Jeff Yohe, deputy chief of facilities at Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD), presented a $653,000 demolition project of the former Johnny Appleseed Heritage Center amphitheater during the land bank’s Oct. 27 meeting.

The land bank scrapped the proposal. 

Board members said the demolition project of the 45-acre site of the 1,700-seat outdoor amphitheater exceeded the amount of grant money available and lacked an end-use for the property.

Lead reporter for Ashland Source who happens to own more bikes than pairs of jeans. His coverage focuses on city and county government, and everything in between. He lives in Mansfield with his wife and...