Land Bank gives community relief from...

Land Bank gives community relief from blighted properties

There are 95 comments on the The Times Bulletin story from Dec 7, 2017, titled Land Bank gives community relief from blighted properties. In it, The Times Bulletin reports that:

Before and after pictures of 418 N. Market St. Van Wert, Ohio show what the Lank Bank can provide. This property was demolished in March of 2017.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at The Times Bulletin.

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Steve Rusk

Van Wert, OH

#1 Dec 8, 2017
They can find the grant money to tear them down, but not to fix them up before they get that bad. If there was any real pride in the community these properties would never have been allowed to deteriorate to this point, someone would have helped the owners to fix them up. Just how are they "revitalized" as an empty lot?
Joe

United States

#2 Dec 8, 2017
Steve Rusk wrote:
They can find the grant money to tear them down, but not to fix them up before they get that bad. If there was any real pride in the community these properties would never have been allowed to deteriorate to this point, someone would have helped the owners to fix them up. Just how are they "revitalized" as an empty lot?
Where were you when they needed help? And why would others be obligated to repair someone else's rental property? No one else got the profits when there were any.
tear down

United States

#3 Dec 8, 2017
The wood in many of those homes was decayed and moldy. The cost to bring those tear down houses up to code is not economical to do.

Many of those old homes were railroad houses which were temporary dwelling for railroad workers and were never intended to last for a hundred years.
Dr Phil

Columbus, OH

#4 Dec 9, 2017
tear down wrote:
The wood in many of those homes was decayed and moldy. The cost to bring those tear down houses up to code is not economical to do.

Many of those old homes were railroad houses which were temporary dwelling for railroad workers and were never intended to last for a hundred years.
Kind of like the mobile homes in the down trodin mobile home parks, right? Well, at least there is a scrap value. Just try to keep it from blowing around the neighborhood while they're being torn down.
Steve Rusk

Van Wert, OH

#5 Dec 9, 2017
Joe wrote:
<quoted text>

Where were you when they needed help? And why would others be obligated to repair someone else's rental property? No one else got the profits when there were any.
These properties have needed help for decades, they didn't just get this way. For a long time now anybody driving by could see there was a problem, apparently our local leadership never noticed any of this. Was there a study as to what could be done here to deal with this kind of blight before it becomes critical? After all this county has been in economic distress for quite some time now, it's nothing new. To direct the owners toward resources for help? Or maybe even create a local program? We had a million dollars to gamble on a railroad to nowhere, it could have done a lot of good here. Trying to draw big business at a time when decent jobs are being shipped out of the country at a record rate is a very long shot, investment within our community is a sure winner. Apparently it never occurred to them that any positive action to help might have been taken before it became necessary to tear these buildings down. Of course a year or so ago they were willing to create all kinds of grief for the owners by insisting something be done immediately. Then after the owners have been appropriately pressured the money magically appears to purchase the properties at distressed prices and remove the buildings. Incidentally someone will still have to mow these grounds, they just won't be mowing around a house anymore.
Joe

United States

#6 Dec 10, 2017
Steve Rusk wrote:
<quoted text>

These properties have needed help for decades, they didn't just get this way. For a long time now anybody driving by could see there was a problem, apparently our local leadership never noticed any of this. Was there a study as to what could be done here to deal with this kind of blight before it becomes critical? After all this county has been in economic distress for quite some time now, it's nothing new. To direct the owners toward resources for help? Or maybe even create a local program? We had a million dollars to gamble on a railroad to nowhere, it could have done a lot of good here. Trying to draw big business at a time when decent jobs are being shipped out of the country at a record rate is a very long shot, investment within our community is a sure winner. Apparently it never occurred to them that any positive action to help might have been taken before it became necessary to tear these buildings down. Of course a year or so ago they were willing to create all kinds of grief for the owners by insisting something be done immediately. Then after the owners have been appropriately pressured the money magically appears to purchase the properties at distressed prices and remove the buildings. Incidentally someone will still have to mow these grounds, they just won't be mowing around a house anymore.
Doesn't answer why you didn't help anyone. Today when people are asked to maintain their properties they won't do it. You did not help then and you are not helping now. Monday morning quarterbacking at its best. You are an ineffective whiney beotch.
Gertrude

Van Wert, OH

#7 Dec 10, 2017
The owner of the structure in the article photo and the one across the street that was also razed owned 4 properties in the area. The remaining 2 properties appear to be in almost complete disrepair also. He bought the 2 rental properties some time in the 1970s, I believe. It is my understanding that after renting to tenants, he would walk in on them, unannounced, telling them that he owns that property and he is free to walk right in at any time. He did little maintenance or upkeep. I'm guessing there were other problems and reasons, but eventually he had no tenants and those buildings sat empty for many years.

At one point he parked a car with no plates in the yard right where that photo was taken. When it was reported as a violation, he put a tarp over the car. It remained there until the tarp rotted and the car was a pile of rust. He did the bare minimum to remain within the city ordinances, until his advanced age and mental state prohibited him from doing anything and he was unwilling to work with the city. These properties have been a long term aggravation for the neighbors in that area who kept up their homes and yards. In addition, the city was lax about enforcing the yard maintenance ordinances and the grass would go uncut for long periods of time. And when he did mow, it would be at 10-11 o'clock at night.

For many years, in the block between the pictured rental property and the house where he actually lives, there were at least 5 homeowners who were widows, all scared of him. He would go walking at night, stopping along the sidewalks. Infer what you may from that. Do you think they were going to help him maintain his properties?

If he didn't have the physical ability or the financial resources to maintain those properties, he should have sold them years ago. Do you really expect others to step up and voluntarily maintain someone else's rental properties for 30-40 years that aren't even being rented? Did you expect the city to absorb the cost of maintaining these properties for 30-40 years? You make it sound like the solution was a one-time help. It would not have been. In addition, citizens can't force help on those who don't want help with their properties.

You are correct, that situation was a long time coming. Local leadership knew about it. The public knew about it. The subject of these particular properties had been in the city council minutes and reported in the news for many years. Most residents were familiar with the man's name and which properties he owned. And like the other commenter said, why didn't YOU step up and help him?

It's similar to those in Van Wert thinking it's the responsibility of the mayor or council to bring new stores and restaurants to town. There are franchises to be had. Step up, buy one, and open a new store or restaurant. It's not the local government's job to find someone to bring them to Van Wert. They don't magically appear because someone sends a telepathic message that Van Wert should have a Cracker Barrel or an Olive Garden.
Steve Rusk

Van Wert, OH

#8 Dec 10, 2017
Joe wrote:
<quoted text>

Doesn't answer why you didn't help anyone. Today when people are asked to maintain their properties they won't do it. You did not help then and you are not helping now. Monday morning quarterbacking at its best. You are an ineffective whiney beotch.
Well "Joe", I'm involved with my own struggles with local government and really wasn't aware of who owns what or why it was going to hell. I can't fight in all the wars, in any case nobody did anything at any time, property owner, city government or neighbors and the buildings are now gone. Nobody can live in them, they don't generate tax revenue and in a county with negative population growth it's unlikely anyone will be building there soon. More below...
Goodness Me

Van Wert, OH

#9 Dec 10, 2017
tear down wrote:
The wood in many of those homes was decayed and moldy. The cost to bring those tear down houses up to code is not economical to do.

Many of those old homes were railroad houses which were temporary dwelling for railroad workers and were never intended to last for a hundred years.
They can last for a hundred years if you take care of them...... One of your ancestors probably built one of them for all you know. Lol.
Goodness Me

Van Wert, OH

#10 Dec 10, 2017
Gertrude wrote:
The owner of the structure in the article photo and the one across the street that was also razed owned 4 properties in the area. The remaining 2 properties appear to be in almost complete disrepair also. He bought the 2 rental properties some time in the 1970s, I believe. It is my understanding that after renting to tenants, he would walk in on them, unannounced, telling them that he owns that property and he is free to walk right in at any time. He did little maintenance or upkeep. I'm guessing there were other problems and reasons, but eventually he had no tenants and those buildings sat empty for many years.

At one point he parked a car with no plates in the yard right where that photo was taken. When it was reported as a violation, he put a tarp over the car. It remained there until the tarp rotted and the car was a pile of rust. He did the bare minimum to remain within the city ordinances, until his advanced age and mental state prohibited him from doing anything and he was unwilling to work with the city. These properties have been a long term aggravation for the neighbors in that area who kept up their homes and yards. In addition, the city was lax about enforcing the yard maintenance ordinances and the grass would go uncut for long periods of time. And when he did mow, it would be at 10-11 o'clock at night.

For many years, in the block between the pictured rental property and the house where he actually lives, there were at least 5 homeowners who were widows, all scared of him. He would go walking at night, stopping along the sidewalks. Infer what you may from that. Do you think they were going to help him maintain his properties?

If he didn't have the physical ability or the financial resources to maintain those properties, he should have sold them years ago. Do you really expect others to step up and voluntarily maintain someone else's rental properties for 30-40 years that aren't even being rented? Did you expect the city to absorb the cost of maintaining these properties for 30-40 years? You make it sound like the solution was a one-time help. It would not have been. In addition, citizens can't force help on those who don't want help with their properties.

You are correct, that situation was a long time coming. Local leadership knew about it. The public knew about it. The subject of these particular properties had been in the city council minutes and reported in the news for many years. Most residents were familiar with the man's name and which properties he owned. And like the other commenter said, why didn't YOU step up and help him?

It's similar to those in Van Wert thinking it's the responsibility of the mayor or council to bring new stores and restaurants to town. There are franchises to be had. Step up, buy one, and open a new store or restaurant. It's not the local government's job to find someone to bring them to Van Wert. They don't magically appear because someone sends a telepathic message that Van Wert should have a Cracker Barrel or an Olive Garden.
His neighbors houses look like s#it as well. I always thought it was just a Second Street thing having spent a lot of time around there as a youngster..
Goodness Me

Van Wert, OH

#11 Dec 10, 2017
Steve Rusk wrote:
<quoted text>

These properties have needed help for decades, they didn't just get this way. For a long time now anybody driving by could see there was a problem, apparently our local leadership never noticed any of this. Was there a study as to what could be done here to deal with this kind of blight before it becomes critical? After all this county has been in economic distress for quite some time now, it's nothing new. To direct the owners toward resources for help? Or maybe even create a local program? We had a million dollars to gamble on a railroad to nowhere, it could have done a lot of good here. Trying to draw big business at a time when decent jobs are being shipped out of the country at a record rate is a very long shot, investment within our community is a sure winner. Apparently it never occurred to them that any positive action to help might have been taken before it became necessary to tear these buildings down. Of course a year or so ago they were willing to create all kinds of grief for the owners by insisting something be done immediately. Then after the owners have been appropriately pressured the money magically appears to purchase the properties at distressed prices and remove the buildings. Incidentally someone will still have to mow these grounds, they just won't be mowing around a house anymore.
I agree 100% Steve. These VW idiots won't take care of anything. Historic homes are just old moldy wood to them. But they are okay with building railroad tracks to oblivion...Some gentrification.......... Marsh Hotel will need to come down soon I'm afraid. The upper floors are finished. I bet people are willing to make an exception for that because of the owners.The double standard you know...
So it begins

Marion, OH

#12 Dec 10, 2017
tear down wrote:
The wood in many of those homes was decayed and moldy. The cost to bring those tear down houses up to code is not economical to do.

Many of those old homes were railroad houses which were temporary dwelling for railroad workers and were never intended to last for a hundred years.
I live in an old railworkers house pal. Are you saying you're going to help me buy a new home? If so please do...
Steve Rusk

Van Wert, OH

#13 Dec 11, 2017
Gertrude,
The properties you mention and the owner are an extreme case, not at all representative of the group. Probably also why it was featured in the article. And I donít advocate others doing someoneís property maintenance, what I donít understand is why nobody could do anything about this for so long a period of time.

I also have a property targeted by the Land Bank program, itís not much and never will be. I acquired it several years ago, began repairs, then suffered financial reversals. In this economy 90% of us arenít too big to allow to fail, should you stumble youíre picked clean of your assets before you hit the ground. There is no getting back on your feet. Despite this Iíve managed to hang onto this property and keep the taxes paid, as well as keeping up the grounds and some basic maintenance. Just havenít had the means to finish getting it livable and a paint job. So itís down right insulting when this bunch comes along and offers 50% for the property and is then willing to spend ten thousand or so to knock it down and level the grounds. Iím not sure what it costs for those track hoes and the trucks, dumping, etc. these days, but itís not cheap. It has to be even worse for those people who have already had their properties condemned and have no choice in the matter. They can come up with the grants to rip you off and demolish your property but they can't actually help you.

As for the duties of local government, if their job isnít improving the community and economic development, what is it? Just sitting on their duffs collecting the big bucks?
growup

Van Wert, OH

#14 Dec 11, 2017
Steve Rusk wrote:
Gertrude,
The properties you mention and the owner are an extreme case, not at all representative of the group. Probably also why it was featured in the article. And I donít advocate others doing someoneís property maintenance, what I donít understand is why nobody could do anything about this for so long a period of time.

I also have a property targeted by the Land Bank program, itís not much and never will be. I acquired it several years ago, began repairs, then suffered financial reversals. In this economy 90% of us arenít too big to allow to fail, should you stumble youíre picked clean of your assets before you hit the ground. There is no getting back on your feet. Despite this Iíve managed to hang onto this property and keep the taxes paid, as well as keeping up the grounds and some basic maintenance. Just havenít had the means to finish getting it livable and a paint job. So itís down right insulting when this bunch comes along and offers 50% for the property and is then willing to spend ten thousand or so to knock it down and level the grounds. Iím not sure what it costs for those track hoes and the trucks, dumping, etc. these days, but itís not cheap. It has to be even worse for those people who have already had their properties condemned and have no choice in the matter. They can come up with the grants to rip you off and demolish your property but they can't actually help you.

As for the duties of local government, if their job isnít improving the community and economic development, what is it? Just sitting on their duffs collecting the big bucks?
They offer you what it's worth now, not after extensive renovations, what a bunch of whiners.
Bob

United States

#15 Dec 11, 2017
Gertrude wrote:
The owner of the structure in the article photo and the one across the street that was also razed owned 4 properties in the area. The remaining 2 properties appear to be in almost complete disrepair also. He bought the 2 rental properties some time in the 1970s, I believe. It is my understanding that after renting to tenants, he would walk in on them, unannounced, telling them that he owns that property and he is free to walk right in at any time. He did little maintenance or upkeep. I'm guessing there were other problems and reasons, but eventually he had no tenants and those buildings sat empty for many years.

At one point he parked a car with no plates in the yard right where that photo was taken. When it was reported as a violation, he put a tarp over the car. It remained there until the tarp rotted and the car was a pile of rust. He did the bare minimum to remain within the city ordinances, until his advanced age and mental state prohibited him from doing anything and he was unwilling to work with the city. These properties have been a long term aggravation for the neighbors in that area who kept up their homes and yards. In addition, the city was lax about enforcing the yard maintenance ordinances and the grass would go uncut for long periods of time. And when he did mow, it would be at 10-11 o'clock at night.

For many years, in the block between the pictured rental property and the house where he actually lives, there were at least 5 homeowners who were widows, all scared of him. He would go walking at night, stopping along the sidewalks. Infer what you may from that. Do you think they were going to help him maintain his properties?

If he didn't have the physical ability or the financial resources to maintain those properties, he should have sold them years ago. Do you really expect others to step up and voluntarily maintain someone else's rental properties for 30-40 years that aren't even being rented? Did you expect the city to absorb the cost of maintaining these properties for 30-40 years? You make it sound like the solution was a one-time help. It would not have been. In addition, citizens can't force help on those who don't want help with their properties.

You are correct, that situation was a long time coming. Local leadership knew about it. The public knew about it. The subject of these particular properties had been in the city council minutes and reported in the news for many years. Most residents were familiar with the man's name and which properties he owned. And like the other commenter said, why didn't YOU step up and help him?

It's similar to those in Van Wert thinking it's the responsibility of the mayor or council to bring new stores and restaurants to town. There are franchises to be had. Step up, buy one, and open a new store or restaurant. It's not the local government's job to find someone to bring them to Van Wert. They don't magically appear because someone sends a telepathic message that Van Wert should have a Cracker Barrel or an Olive Garden.
Don't worry Steve Rusk is on it!
Joe

United States

#16 Dec 11, 2017
Steve Rusk wrote:
Gertrude,
The properties you mention and the owner are an extreme case, not at all representative of the group. Probably also why it was featured in the article. And I donít advocate others doing someoneís property maintenance, what I donít understand is why nobody could do anything about this for so long a period of time.

I also have a property targeted by the Land Bank program, itís not much and never will be. I acquired it several years ago, began repairs, then suffered financial reversals. In this economy 90% of us arenít too big to allow to fail, should you stumble youíre picked clean of your assets before you hit the ground. There is no getting back on your feet. Despite this Iíve managed to hang onto this property and keep the taxes paid, as well as keeping up the grounds and some basic maintenance. Just havenít had the means to finish getting it livable and a paint job. So itís down right insulting when this bunch comes along and offers 50% for the property and is then willing to spend ten thousand or so to knock it down and level the grounds. Iím not sure what it costs for those track hoes and the trucks, dumping, etc. these days, but itís not cheap. It has to be even worse for those people who have already had their properties condemned and have no choice in the matter. They can come up with the grants to rip you off and demolish your property but they can't actually help you.

As for the duties of local government, if their job isnít improving the community and economic development, what is it? Just sitting on their duffs collecting the big bucks?
So you buy a worthless property, too lazy, stupid, or poor to make it livable and I should have to pay for it? Screw you, pay for you own sh@t. Or were you going to make a profit and share the proceeds with me?
tear down

United States

#17 Dec 11, 2017
So it begins wrote:
<quoted text>
I live in an old railworkers house pal. Are you saying you're going to help me buy a new home? If so please do...
An outhouse would be a good replacement for you.
Steve Rusk

Van Wert, OH

#18 Dec 11, 2017
Joe wrote:
<quoted text>

So you buy a worthless property, too lazy, stupid, or poor to make it livable and I should have to pay for it? Screw you, pay for you own sh@t. Or were you going to make a profit and share the proceeds with me?
A turn of events beyond my control made the situation untenable for me, I continue the best I can. The purchase of the property was never about a "profit", just a place for someone to live. I don't know what offers the other property owners received, mine was definitely low ball.

They can use these grants to rip off the property owners and provide profits for the contractors involved with tearing the properties down, you apparently have no objection to that. Why shouldn't they use some of that money to actually help property owners instead? I'm not talking about a gift, just loans structured for qualifying properties. The money is being spent anyway, just not in a way that's doing anyone any good.
Steve Rusk

Van Wert, OH

#19 Dec 11, 2017
growup wrote:
<quoted text> They offer you what it's worth now, not after extensive renovations, what a bunch of whiners.
They offer what they want to pay, they have the money. Those threatened by the city with condemned properties have little choice but to take the pittance offered.
Joe

United States

#20 Dec 11, 2017
Steve Rusk wrote:
<quoted text>

A turn of events beyond my control made the situation untenable for me, I continue the best I can. The purchase of the property was never about a "profit", just a place for someone to live. I don't know what offers the other property owners received, mine was definitely low ball.

They can use these grants to rip off the property owners and provide profits for the contractors involved with tearing the properties down, you apparently have no objection to that. Why shouldn't they use some of that money to actually help property owners instead? I'm not talking about a gift, just loans structured for qualifying properties. The money is being spent anyway, just not in a way that's doing anyone any good.
The same property neglect is going on right now. I will ask you again what have you done and what are you doing now to help any fix or clean up their properties?

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