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Nearly 70 structures torn down since 2011

Sixty-nine blighted structures have been demolished in Ironton since 2011 and Ironton Mayor Rich Blankenship told city council this past Thursday there is some money available to continue that process.

“The attorney general has about $10,000 in surplus money for Lawrence County we can use,” he said.

Although the main topic of discussion at the meeting was the proposed Memorial Hall demolition, Blankenship provided all council members with a year-by-year breakdown of all structures torn down since 2011.

Many structures were torn down as a result of property owners taking advantage of the Moving Ohio Forward Demolition Grant program launched by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. Under the grant’s provisions the State of Ohio reimburses the city for costs of demolitions.

The city keeps about $20,000 in its demolition fund and once a home is tested for asbestos and torn down, the city waits for the state’s reimbursement before beginning demolition on the next structure.

This past April Blankenship encouraged people who own dilapidated properties to start the process of demolishing the structure by contacting the city.

“This is perfect for folks who do not have the money themselves to do it,” Blankenship said last year.

The city can also condemn structures and send letters to the property owners. But when the property owners do not live in the area, the process is slowed down if a bank in another state owns a property.

“It’s not just a one-day process,” Blankenship said.

In 2011 the city spent $117,600 demolishing 28 structures; $48,940 demolishing nine structures in 2012; and $58,755 on 30 structures in 2013.