June 29, 2016

Partly sunny

County receives more funding to raze rundown houses

MEDINA — Medina County will have more money to demolish homes, but higher than expected costs mean the money will not go as far as officials had hoped.

The money is the county’s share of more than $75 million from a federal lawsuit settlement against the country’s largest mortgage lenders distributed by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

The county already has received $500,000 in federal grants through the Moving Ohio Forward program, which is aimed at helping property owners who otherwise could not afford to tear down dilapidated houses. The property owners only pay a $750 fee.

Now the county has received another $46,000, after DeWine’s office divvied up money returned by communities that did not use it.

County Planning Director Rob Henwood said he’d hoped to raze as many as 33 houses. But even with the additional money, the county can hope to demolish 32 houses.

“Given my refiguring of the dollars, at the end of the day we will do 31 for sure, possibly 32,” he said. “Our costs ended up being higher than I’d hoped. Asbestos costs were higher than we had expected and we ended up demolishing some larger structures in rural areas.”

Henwood said the county has demolished 26 structures at an average cost of $17,000 each. That includes 22 houses that needed to have asbestos removed, at an average cost of more than $5,200 each.

He said the demolition money also allows the county to raze accessory buildings like barns. In some cases, those barns have cost up to $12,000 to demolish — as much as the primary houses on the property.

With only 15.8 percent of the demolition budget remaining — including the new money — Henwood said he has three more houses budgeted for demotion in the next few weeks.

That includes one of a trio of dilapidated houses at 5790, 5794 and 5796 Chippewa Road bought at auction by Lafayette Township trustees in September.

Officials said former owner Ted Trikilis made repairs enough to get by until his death in 2009, but then a bank foreclosed on them and the houses were left vacant.

Henwood said the house on the corner, nearest Lake Road, will be done first because officials were able to conduct an asbestos survey on it without trouble.

He said squatters who inhabit the other two structures locked them out until he showed up with a sheriff’s deputy this week.

Henwood said that if all works out with the next five houses, he could have enough money left over to raze a house in Brunswick.

“There’s a gentleman with a very sad story I’d like to help out,” he said.

Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or dpompili@medina-gazette.com.