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Creating land bank started

Way to clean up county’s eyesores

The county has taken the first step to get funds to clean up abandoned and dilapidated structures by setting up a land bank.

At its regular meeting on Thursday Lawrence County Commission set up the Lawrence County Land Revitalization Corporation.

Now the county treasurer must file the corporation information on the non-profit with the Ohio Secretary of State.

Overseeing the land bank will be a board made up of the treasurer, two of the three commissioners, the mayor of the largest city in the county and a trustee of the largest township in the area.

“The third step is to convened that board,” commissioner Bill Pratt said.

Currently there is $180 million available from the state for land banks.

“There are 31 counties that have applied,” Pratt said. “We will have our foot in the door.”

A land bank allows the county to acquire property in a variety of ways.

Then it can either pay for rehabilitating the property or demolishing the eyesore.

Since Ironton is the largest city in the county, mayor Katrina Keith will serve on the board.

“The city of Ironton has experienced a number of dilapidated homes with little funding,” she said.

Because of that, Keith said she supports the land bank concept.

The commissioners also agreed to retain the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization to control the purse strings for federal money for the OneStop Job Training Program.

In the summer of 2015, the commission in a 2-0 vote changed the administrator of the Workforce Investment Opportunity Act funds to the department of job and family services bumping out the CAO that had controlled the money for years.

County commissioners can designate who administers WIOA funds. A state budget bill at that same time said the commission also had to choose who administers the TANF or welfare funds. TANF is administered by the DJFS.

Commission president Les Boggs said he interpreted the bill to mean there should only be one administrator.

However, following recent negotiations with the state, DJFS and CAO will now retain their original roles.

“The best thing they are both in agreement,” commissioner Bill Pratt said. “I think it is good for the county.”

In other action the commission:

• Approved establishing Private Drive off Township Road 1204 as Rome Township Road 390;

• Referred a petition to vacate all of Township Road 236 in Aid Township to the county engineer;

• Changed status of Aaron Abner, EMT from full-time to part-time;

• Transferred $110,000 from the general fund emergency account to the Lawrence County EMS;

• Proclaimed May as Older Americans Month.